Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

The “small-town-girl”

April 5, 2020

STORY OF A SIMPLE SMALL TOWN GIRL AND HER HIGHLY EDUCATED HUSBAND

Story by Vikram Karve

Once there was a happily married couple.

The highly educated husband was doing well in life.

He worked in a Research Laboratory in Pune as an Research Scientist.

His simple homemaker wife was a small town girl – and she looked up to her husband with respect and adoration.

The well meaning husband encouraged his wife to learn and enhance her educational qualifications – since he wanted his wife to realize her full potential.

He motivated his simple wife to do courses in Computers, IT and Software.

Then – he helped his wife find a good job in the IT Software Industry.

The wife did extremely well in the IT Software Industry – which was flourishing at that time.

And – in a few years the tables had turned.

Whereas – the wife’s career prospered – the husband’s career stagnated.

The upwardly mobile wife travelled abroad to the US and other countries on prestigious projects – she earned lots of money – she got fast promotions – and her career truly flourished.

On the other hand – the poor luckless husband continued to slog away in his research job – without much reward or recognition.

Now – the “successful” wife started looking down upon her husband – as if he were an embarrassment.

And sometimes – the “successful” wife even belittled her simple husband.

She had progressed – but he had remained where he was.

The wife now felt that she was too good for him.

Well – she was way up the ladder – breaking the glass ceiling and rocketing upwards.

She was now “out of his league”.

The wife had conveniently forgotten that before her marriage she was just a simple “small town girl” from the mofussil – and it was her progressive husband who had initially encouraged her to learn and take up a career.

She had totally forgotten the fact that it was her husband who had played a major role in her success.

The globe trotting successful wife now moved in cosmopolitan high society and developed much finesse, refinement and “social graces”.

She had moved way up the social ladder – whereas her husband remained his simple self.

To put it bluntly – the wife had become quite a “snob” – as her success had gone into her head.

Once – we were dining at one of those high falutin parties.

It was very awkward to see her nagging and lecturing her husband on Etiquette, Table Manners and Social Graces.

She went on and on – lecturing her hapless husband on etiquette and social graces – till I could bear it no longer.

I looked at the wife – a “small-town-girl turned cosmopolitan-socialite” – and I thought it was high time I brought her down a peg or two.

First – I wanted to give the snooty wife a lecture on “etiquette”.

But – on second thoughts – I told her this Mulla Nasrudin Teaching Story – since I believe – that a message can be driven home much more effectively through a bit of wit and humor:

SOCIAL GRACES AND ETIQUETTE

(A Story)

Mulla Nasrudin went to see a divorce lawyer.

Mulla Nasrudin told the lawyer that he wanted to divorce his wife.

“What grounds do you think you have for a divorce…?” the lawyer asked Nasrudin.

“It’s my wife’s manners…” said Nasrudin, “She is unbearable. My wife possesses no social graces and has absolutely no etiquette. It’s disgusting – her behaviour – she has absolutely no etiquette – and her table manners are so bad – that she is disgracing the whole family.”

“That’s really bad…” the lawyer said, “How long have you been married…?”

“Nine years…” said Nasrudin.

“Nine years…?” the lawyer exclaimed surprised, “If you have been able to put up with your wife’s etiquette and table manners for nine long years – I can’t understand why you want to divorce her now…?”

“Well – I did not know anything about all this “social graces”, “table manners” and “etiquette” stuff before…” said Nasrudin, “I bought a book on “Etiquette” just today morning – and after reading the book – I realised that my wife has no “etiquette”, “social graces” and “table manners”…”

EPILOGUE

Once she heard this story – I think –the “small-town-girl turned cosmopolitan-socialite” – she got the message – and – I observed a marked change in her demeanor towards her humble husband.

A few days ago – I met the same “small-town-girl” while I was shopping in a mall in Pune.

She was shopping with her husband.

They invited me for a cup of coffee to the coffee shop in the mall.

And – while we sat in the coffee shop sipping coffee – her husband dipped a biscuit in his coffee.

The wife looked aghast – and I think she was about to start nagging and lecturing her husband on “table manners” “etiquette” etc.

I gestured to her and gave her a canny look.

She smiled at me – and then – she broke out into laughter.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2011/12/simple-husband-and-snobbish-wife.html

This story is also posted in my various blogs including at urls: https://karvediat.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-successful-wife.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2012/07/snooty-wife-simpleton-husband-etiquette.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-emancipated-wife-wit-and-humor.html

Does Power corrupt people…?

April 4, 2020

You must have heard the saying: “Power Corrupts”

Does Power corrupt people…?

How does Power affect people…?

Here is an article on the subject from my Management Lecture Archives.

More than 25 years ago – I wrote an article on POWER AND LEADERSHIP – in a Management Journal.

I frequently used my article as a basis to deliver lectures on the subject.

Later – after I started blogging – I posted this lecture on POWER in my various blogs (in this blog first in 2008 – and updated and re-posted later a few times).

Dear Reader: This morning – I thought that I should post an updated and abridged version of the article for your perusal:

POWER and LEADERSHIP STYLE
An Essay By Vikram Karve

The two essential entities that flow between the human elements of an organisation are information and power.

Information flow is a means of communication whereas Power is an instrument of control.

Viewed from a Systems perspective, information flow is the transformation process, which facilitates decision making, in contrast to the flow of power, which is a control process whose objective is to ensure optimal operational performance.

Organisations are arrangements of power among individuals.

In fact, as per one definition, an organisation comprises two or more persons interacting within a recognised power relationship for some common purpose.

The interplay of power enables the achievement of common purpose (organisational objectives) and determines organisational behaviour.

Before we study the effect of power on organisational behaviour, it may be apt to take a closer look at the phenomenon we call POWER, in particular INTERPERSONAL POWER.

Interpersonal Power is the kind of power that people have over one another in formal and informal situations.

TYPES OF POWER

The various forms of power may be categorised into one or more of the following 12 categories, some of which may be inter-dependent, or overlapping, and some even forming power equations:

  1. POSITION POWER
  1. EXPERT POWER
  1. CHARISMATIC POWER
  1. INFLUENTIAL POWER
  1. IMPLIED COERCION
  1. ACTUAL COERCION
  1. POWER OF APPLIED PRESSURE
  1. POWER OF RAW FORCE
  1. ASSUMED POWER
  1. USURPED POWER
  1. ORGANIZATION POWER
  1. ASCETIC POWER

In many situations, particularly in organisations, many of the above forms of power are inextricably intertwined and mutually interdependent.

In fact, that is the beauty of the dynamics of the interplay of power within an organisation, which is why we will discuss the effects of the above types of power on organisational behaviour.

Now let us explore how this fascinating phenomenon called power impacts and determines organisational behaviour and elaborate a bit on each of the various forms of Power listed above.

POSITION POWER

Position Power or legitimate power is the power that emanates from the rights of the holder of a position in the organisation owing to the deference of subordinates to that position.

Position Power is vested in the leader by the organisation.

This means that should a conflict arise between the leader and the follower, the leader will get his way.

It is this type of power that is most open to abuse, misuse and distortion.

INFLUENTIAL POWER

According to Alvin Toffler, in his book Powershift, the three important sources of power are violence, wealth and knowledge.

He also says that power is the reciprocal of desire, or needs.

Anyone who can fulfill (or withhold) your needs or desires is a potential source of power.

Thus, if you desire a promotion, your boss who can give (or deny) you the promotion has power over you.

If you need money, the person who can give you money has influential power over you.

The more your needs and desires, the more you are subject to influential power.

Influential Power or compensatory power is the power over rewards and resources.

For example, money or wealth is an instrument of influential power.

Satisfaction of needs (Maslow’s Need Hierarchy) including higher order needs of safety, belongingness, recognition and self-esteem through actions like grant of wage hikes, bonuses, increments, incentives, awards, promotions, and simple intangibles like just “a pat on the back” are typical examples of influential power.

COERCIVE POWER

Coercive Power is an instrument of punishment.

Denial of legitimate needs, dismissal, demotion, unwarranted “punishments” like vindictive transfers and other forms of harassment are some commonly observed examples of coercive power.

If these “punishments” are actually implemented and imposed, then it is called Actual Coercion but even the mere threat and power to impose these coercive punishments is a potent form of power and is called Implied Coercion.

There is saying that sometimes the threat of violence is sometimes more scary than actual violence, so implied coercion can sometimes be quite effective.

The extreme cases of coercive power include the power of raw force (physical assault or harm to life and limb) and implied or threat of force (power of applied pressure).

In most cases, influential power and coercive power have linkages with and may emanate from position power and rely on sources of wealth and violence (the “carrot and stick” approach).

COERCIVE POWER is also called CONDIGN POWER.

Condign Power refers to brute force.

This means the ability to inflict punishment on someone if he does not obey.

Courts, Police and Military Forces are the principal instruments of condign power.

EXPERT POWER

Expert Power is probably the only power that a lower ranking employee in an organisation can exert over those above him in the hierarchy or higher than him in rank or position.

The source of Expert Power is knowledge.

It is the power devolved to a person who is regarded as possessing essential knowledge, skills, abilities, or expertise needed by the boss and the organisation.

If we look around we will see lots of examples of expert power especially in the technical domain and in Information Technology, where certain “key” employees wield expert power which is much more vis-à-vis their position in the organisational hierarchy.

One must remember that expert power lasts as long as the expertise is uniquely consolidated in the employee and adds value and is required by the organisation.

Once a particular knowledge or expertise dissipates or becomes obsolete or redundant, the expert power that comes with that expertise disappears.

ORGANISATION POWER

A network of people who form an organisation or group may collectively radiate power.

Organisations like the army, civil service, and police wield immense power and so do large industrial and political organisations.

Other examples are Union Organisations, Employers’ Associations and Confederations of Industries.

Organisation Power may exhibit similar attributes like position power, influential power and coercive power relying on the sources of wealth and violence for sustenance.

CHARISMATIC POWER

Charismatic Power is a type of power attached to an individual.

Charismatic Power emanates from personality and plays an important role in organisations. In situations when two persons with equal position power (peers) interact, we observe that one person tends to get his way more often than the other.

This type of power that enables one peer to get his way during an interaction is called charismatic power or personal power. 

A person possessing charismatic power can get people to obey him of their own free will, he exercises conditioned power by changing beliefs through persuasion and willing acceptance by the follower.

The key factors that determine charismatic power are:

  1. Self Image– How you view yourself
  1. Peer Image– How you view your peer (power inferior, power equal or power superior)
  1. Feedback Factor– How you read the power play in the interaction
  1. Situation Image– How expertise pertaining to a certain situation determines the power equation. (e.g. Situational Expert Power)

ASSUMED POWER

Assumed Power is illegitimate position power (authority without accountability).

Examples include personal staff to high officials, low level functionaries in important government departments, etc.

In general, any person who can deny, withhold, delay or fulfill your needs or desires has the potential to assume power over you.

USURPED POWER

Powerlessness may cause frustration and, in extreme cases, lead to desperation, which may trigger off attempts to usurp power (e.g. – Violent Revolt, Military Coup, Hostile Takeover of Companies, etc)

Power may be usurped by an individual or group and then maintained by force, coercion, influence, charisma or combinations thereof.

Look within your own organisation – a discerning look may reveal many overtcovert and subtle forms of assumed power and usurped power.
ASCETIC POWER 

To start with – I will relate below a story – maybe apocryphal – which illustrates the concept of ASCETIC POWER.

THE STORY OF EMPEROR ALEXANDER AND PHILOSOPHER DIOGENES

Alexander the Great – the Emperor of the World – had conquered all lands and seas.

He considered himself the “son of a god”

Before him – all knelt in veneration and reverence.

One day early in the morning – Alexander was riding with his Army through Greece.

Suddenly – Alexander saw a man lying naked in the sand by the side of a river basking in the early morning sunlight.

Curious – Alexander rode towards the naked man.

The man who was basking in the sun seemed to be totally indifferent to the distinguished visitor and his entourage.

The naked man remained prostrate and made no attempt to get up.

He ignored Emperor Alexander the Great – sitting majestically on his horse.

An angry soldier shouted at the naked man:

“You there – do you know in whose presence you are…?”

“Who is he…?” the prostrate man answered lazily, without even a stir, making no move to get up.

The astonished soldier proclaimed:

“Wretched man – you are in the presence of His Exalted Highness Alexander the Great – Emperor of the World…”

“Oh…” the naked sunbather said impassively – continuing to lie down.

The naked man casually looked up at Alexander the Great – mounted imposingly on his horse.

Then – the naked man said to Alexander:

“I am Diogenes.”

On hearing his – Alexander exclaimed:

“Ah – so you are the philosopher Diogenes…!!!

I have always wanted to meet you – I have heard so many stories about you.

Diogenes – I am impressed.

I shall grant you anything you wish.

Tell me – what do you desire…?

Diogenes – ask for anything in the world – and it will be yours…”

Still lying prostrate on the sand – Diogenes said to Alexander:

“Please could you move a little to the side and get out of my sunlight, because you are blocking the sun and spoiling my sunbath. That is all I want from you…”  

Diogenes desired nothing from Emperor Alexander – he just wanted to enjoy his sunbathing.

Power is the reciprocal of desire.

If I desire something from you, then you have the power to either grant or withhold what I desire from me.

If I do not desire anything from you, then you have no power over me.

A desire can be any form.

It can be tangible, like material wealth, or even intangible, like love, appreciation etc.

In his time, Alexander the Great was the most “powerful” man on earth, but he had no power over Diogenes, because Diogenes did not desire anything from him.

This story illustrates the fact that:

You cannot have power over someone who desires nothing from you.

That is Ascetic Power.

Look closely – and you will see individuals with ascetic power around you – maybe even in your organisation too.

LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWERSHIP STYLE

Each person, because of his life experiences, develops a characteristic way of behaving when he has power over another.

How you behave when you have power over someone is your leadership style.

Each of us has a characteristic way of reacting to those we recognise as having power over us.

How you react to someone who has power over you is your followership style.

Leadership and followership styles may embody situational and cultural aspects.

Different types of power have varied connotations in different cultures.

In some parts of the world and in most hierarchical, military and bureaucratic organisations position power may be of prime importance.

In some other domains (especially political organisations) charismatic power may prevail.

And in some organisations, especially technical organisations, expert power may be given more recognition.

With increasing globalisation, these aspects merit consideration in determining power equations in multinational and multicultural organisations.

HOW POWER AFFECTS BEHAVIOUR

Like all resources, power is susceptible to misuse.

Power corrupts, and to quote Lord Acton:

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”

Let us see, in the organisational scenario, what power does to people and discuss the process by which managers may get corrupted by the acquisition of power.

This process of corruption due to power is a four-stage process and the sequence seems to be quite consistent:

STAGE 1 – SURPRISE

After you acquire power, especially position power, say after a promotion to a senior position like CEO:

First, there is surprise at how quickly erstwhile peers or equals change their behaviour towards you.

Then there is a distancing process.

You can no longer be “one of the boys”.

Your privileges increase – after all Rank has its Privileges.

STAGE 2 – EXCITEMENT

The second phase is a feeling of excitement, of recognition that when you, as the new leader, use your power to make a decision, your decision is both sought after and gratefully received.

This develops into strong feelings of self-worth and you have a feeling of doing something worthwhile.

You have a feeling of importance owing to the satisfaction of the inner need for significance.

STAGE 3 – POTENCY

The third phase is the one most likely to begin the process of corruption. It is feeling of potency.

You, as a power-broker, start to understand how much power and concomitant resources you can employ in order to amplify your own person, role and achievements.

There is an accompanying feeling of isolation.

The “leader”, possessing power, becomes inexorably drawn away from the subject (follower or victim) of his power and is tempted to feel bigger for it.

STAGE 4 – EPIPHANY

In the final phase, there is a split. In this stage, persons possessing power behave in two distinct ways.

If you are a prudent manager or leader – you will begin to realise the negative aspects of power.

You will sense the reactions of your subordinates and peers in the organisation to the power equations and accordingly you will evaluate the situation and respond in a positive manner by appropriate delegation of power in order to empower your subordinates – or at least generate a feeling of empowerment among them.

If you are one of those indisputable ambitious power seekers – you will begin to believe that power is something that you can now command – because of who you are.

You take your power for granted and begin to believe that your own identity is of prime importance as compared to those you lead (followers).

You create defences against potential attack by peers and subordinates and other you imagine who want to grab your power.

You will surround yourself with reinforcements (siege mentality).

Finally – like Nero, Hitler and many other tyrants and totalitarian rulers, autocrats, despots and dictators – you will start having illusions of your own glory – and you will ignore the reality of the situation – and you will not see the signs of your impending end.

In extremis – all those who hold on to power – they risk turning into paranoids and megalomaniacs – like the ones we read about in history books, including the corporate world.

CONCLUSION

The advent of the information age and knowledge worker and fast changing business environment and flatter organizational structure owing to proliferation of information technology and implementation of modern management practices and consequent dynamic changes in traditional power equations necessitate an understanding of the different kinds of power relationships in organisational situations and their impact on organisational behaviour.

It is, indeed, vital to recognize that power is a key resource which must be prudently managed so as to minimise power conflict for the good of the individuals involved and the organisation to which they belong.

I will end with another quote from Lord Acton:

… And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely …

Lord Acton

Power is a vital resource in governance and management.

It is important to understand the dynamics of power in order to handle it prudently.

If the various types and aspects of power are not understood properly and mishandled, then power can become a dangerous resource and things can get out of control.

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:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Link to my source post of this story in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/01/power-and-leadership-style.html

This is a revised version of my article written by me more than 25 years ago in the 1990s and posted online an number of times on my various blogs including at urls:http://creative.sulekha.com/the-power-game_508927_blog  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/02/power-and-organisational-behaviour.html  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/vikram-karve-types-of-power-and-ascetic-power/ and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/06/power-and-its-management-primer.html and https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/06/power.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/12/does-power-corrupt.html and https://www.quora.com/profile/Vikram-Karve/Writing-by-VIKRAM-KARVE/How-Power-Corrupts and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/how-power-affects-people/ etc

Humor in Uniform – Story from My Navy Days – The Captain and the “Dockyard Matey”

April 4, 2020

A LESSON I LEARNT FROM A “DOCKYARD MATEY”

Story from My Navy Days by Vikram Karve

This Story happened around 45 years ago in the mid 1970’s

“You bloody “Dope-Entry” Technical Officers are “good for nothing”. I will show you how to take charge of those lazy Dockyard buggers…” our Captain bellowed at my Boss.

(By the epithet “Dope-Entry” – the Captain was referring to the fact that my boss was a “Direct Entry” Officer – actually he was a “University Entry” Graduate Engineer Officer – but colloquially – both entries were derisively called “Dope Entry” by the “Cadet Entry” Officers who considered themselves “cat’s whiskers” prima donnas…)

“Let’s go the dockyard workshop…” the Captain said to my boss, “I will personally “sort out” those lazy shirkers and get them moving by giving them a “kick on their backsides”….”

The Captain put on his peaked cap and marched out of his cabin.

My boss said: “Sir – I will get my cap…” – and he went towards his cabin.

I tried to slink away and disappear.

Suddenly – the Captain looked at me – and – he shouted at me:

“You too – come with me – you will learn and thing or two of how to “Take Charge” – “Executive Style”…”

(The Captain was implying that “Taking Charge” was the hallmark of the “Executive” Branch…)

Soon – we were marching in the hot summer sun towards the “Test Centre” which was around half a kilometer away – my Boss marching in step with the Captain – and “yours truly” – me – following meekly like “Mary’s Little Lamb”.

(Those days – Captains of Ships did not get staff cars. The only Captains who enjoyed this privilege were Captains of the Aircraft Carrier and Hydrographic Survey Ships who lowered their ship’s jeep on the jetty for their use ashore…)

Dear Reader – while we walk towards our destination – let me tell you a bit of the background to this story.

Our ship – a front-line warship of the fleet – a Frigate – was in “refit” ever since the Captain had taken over command a few months ago.

So – the ship had not sailed even a single day under his command.

This meant that – as far as his ACR was concerned – all these days – with the ship in the docks – or – tied up alongside on the jetty ashore – all these days were a waste of time – since – for a Captain in command of a ship – it was his performance at Sea which was critical for his ACR.

(The acronym ACR stands for Annual Confidential Report – the Performance Appraisal Report – the “be-all and end-all” criterion for promotion in the Navy/Military – and – for a Captain – an outstanding Sea Command ACR was most critical for promotion to Flag Rank)

Our Captain’s “rivals” for promotion – the Captains of other ships in the fleet – they were sailing extensively and “earning” their Sea Command ACRs – with their ships participating in exercises and evolutions.

Yes – while his “rival” Captains were demonstrating their seamanship, professional and command skills to the Fleet Commander – and clocking points on their ACRs – our Captain was falling far behind and losing out in the “ACR Race”.

And so – our Captain was desperate to catch up fast with his “rivals”.

He could do this only when the ship’s refit was complete – since – only after the refit was complete would our ship be able to join the fleet at sea.

Hence – our Captain was anxious that the ship’s refit be completed at the earliest – at least on schedule – but it seemed that the refit completion was being delayed because of a “Genset” (Generator aka Alternator) – which had still not been fitted on board ship after overhaul.

“Don’t worry, Sir – the “Genset” will be fitted on time – all trials will be done – and we will be ready to sail next week for the exercise…” my boss assured the Captain.

But – the Captain shouted at our boss:

“You keep saying the same thing again and again – but nothing is happening on ground. There is just one week left for the big exercise – and – I have to sail – otherwise – I will be “written off” – do you understand…? I can’t become an Admiral if my ship is tied up alongside on the jetty. I have assured the Fleet Commander that I will sail and take part in the exercise. In fact – I have requested him to sail on board our ship – as the Flag Ship…”

“Sir – don’t worry – the dockyard will get the ship ready on time…” my boss said.

“I don’t think so – the way they are working – they seem to be in no hurry at all…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I will speak to the concerned dockyard officers…” my boss said.

“What…? “Speak”…? You are going to “speak” to them…? They need a “kick on their bloody backsides” to get them moving – and – I am going to show you how it is done…” the Captain bellowed at my boss, ““You bloody “Dope-Entry” Technical Officers are “good for nothing”. I will show you how to take charge of those lazy Dockyards buggers…”

And so – we were marching in the hot summer sun towards the “Test Centre” – which was around half a kilometer away – my Boss marching in step with the Captain – and “yours truly” – me – following meekly like “Mary’s Little Lamb”.

We reached the “Test Centre” at 10 AM.

It was hot inside the “Test Centre” – and – after a long walk in the blazing sun – we were sweating profusely.

My Boss pointed towards the “Genset” on the “Test Bed” and said to the Captain: “Sir – that is our ship’s “Genset”…”

“I can see that…” the Captain said, “but where is everyone…?”

“Sir – they must have gone for their “Tea Break”…” my boss said.

“What nonsense…!!! Now – it is “Tea Break” – soon it will be “Lunch Break” – then – they will “secure” – when the hell do these dockyard sluggards do some useful work…? the Captain remarked derisively.

After a few minutes – a “Dockyard Matey” sauntered in – he walked towards the “Test Bed” in a most casual and leisurely manner – and he stood next to the “Genset”.

(Dear Reader – Let me explain the Naval Term “Dockyard Matey” – a term of endearment.

In the Navy – Dockyard Workmen are affectionately called “Dockyard Mateys”.

“Dockyard Matey” is the traditional nickname for Non-Navy Civilian Personnel working in a Naval Dockyard.

You will be surprised to know that the Navy probably has more civilian personnel than men in uniform.

Yes – there are a large number of “Naval Civilians” in dockyards, depots, repair yards, shore establishments etc.

In fact – most of the maintenance and logistics units of the Navy have a significant proportion of civilian personnel.

A large majority of the Naval Civilian Personnel work in the two premier Naval Dockyards which play the vital role in keeping warships and submarines in good repair – seaworthy and fighting fit.

“Dockyard Mateys” are tradesmen – ranging from highly skilled/experienced technical experts right down to semi-skilled/unskilled workers

(the designation “unskilled” is a misnomer because even the USLs (Unskilled Labour) are highly proficient workmen).

Except for a handful of Navy Sailors in a few departments – Naval Dockyards are staffed entirely by Civilian Personnel.

But – Naval Dockyards are entirely “commanded” and managed by Uniformed Naval Officers.

Yes – the Admiral Superintendent, General Managers, Managers, Deputy Managers and Assistant Managers are Technical Officers of the Navy.

For a Naval Officer of the Technical Branches – a Dockyard Appointment is considered a Prestigious “Criteria” Appointment.

(I have served a total of 10 years of my long Navy career in both the premier Naval Dockyards in Mumbai and Vizag)

Whereas the Naval Fleets/Flotillas are the frontline afloat component of the Navy – the Naval Dockyards (which keep the Warships/Submarines in good repair and fighting fit) can be considered as the “frontline” shore-based component of the Navy.

So – Uniformed Navy Sailors on board Seagoing Naval Warships afloat – and Civilian Navy “Dockyard Mateys” in Naval Dockyards ashore – both play a significant role in keeping the Navy fighting fit…)

After this digression – let’s continue with our story…

“Hey, you – “is this “Genset” ready…?” the Captain shouted at the “Dockyard Matey”.

“I don’t know – ask the supervisor …” the “Dockyard Matey” said nonchalantly.

“Where is the supervisor…” the Captain asked the “Dockyard Matey”.

“He will come…” the “Dockyard Matey” said.

“Go get me a glass of water…” the Captain said to the “Dockyard Matey”.

“It is not my job to get water…” the “Dockyard Matey” said rudely to the Captain – looking him in the eye.

We were appalled on hearing the Dockyard Matey’s words.

There was stunned silence – a grotesque silence.

No one knew what to say – especially the Captain – who was looking dumbfounded by the Dockyard Matey’s curt refusal to comply with his “order”.

The Captain’s simple order to get a glass of water to drink – had elicited a terse reply from the Dockyard Matey: “It is not my job to get water…” 

This had never happened to the Captain before – no one had ever directly disobeyed his order and answered him back in an insolent manner.

That is why he was struck dumb – not knowing what to say.

Luckily – the Supervisor arrived.

The Supervisor was a Senior Foreman.

He looked at us – and he must have observed us sweating in the heat.

The Senior Foreman looked at the “Dockyard Matey” and told him: “Go and get some cold water for all the Officers…”

The “Dockyard Matey” walked away – and soon – he returned with a tray carrying 3 glasses of cold water – for us to drink.

This incident taught me a lesson I never forgot:

“Never give orders to men who are not under your direct command”.

I followed this principle scrupulously in my Naval Career – on Ships – in Dockyards – and especially in Inter-Service Institutions like IAT Pune – where I served later.

Yes – this principle was especially applicable in places where you had people from various organisations serving together – each with its different unique culture.

The incident I described above in the Naval Dockyard happened in the mid-1970s.

A similar incident happened in IAT Pune around 10 years later in the mid-1980s – when I was posted on the faculty of the Naval Wing at IAT.

IAT Pune was a true inter-service institution.

We had Officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force – both on the Faculty (Staff) – and a large number of “Student” Officers undergoing various Advanced/Post-Graduate Courses in state-of-the-art Military Technologies.

We had Civilian Scientists – mostly on the Teaching Staff.

We had a large Civilian Administrative Staff.

And – we had a few Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen – in the 3 Service Wings.

The Head of the Organisation – Director and Dean – colloquially called “The Dean” – was an Officer of the rank of Major-General/Rear-Admiral/Air-Vice-Marshal/Scientist by rotation.

The newly arrived Dean (a Major General) was not happy with the upkeep of the large verdant campus – so – he pulled up and admonished the OC Adm (Officer-in-Charge Administration).

The “OC Adm” was a Colonel – a “hot shot” go-getter officer – handpicked by the Dean.

In fact – the Dean had brought him along from his previous organization.

The “OC Adm” called the “Estate Officer” (a Major) – and – the “OC Adm” asked him about the shabby state of the campus.

“Sir – the Civilian Gardeners are very lazy – they don’t work properly…” the Estate Officer said.

There were quite a large number of civilian gardeners in IAT.

The good gardeners were deployed to maintain the gardens in the bungalows of senior officers – and prestigious places – like the officers’ mess lawns/garden – and – the lawns/ garden in front of the main building.

The remaining “demotivated” gardeners were deployed to maintain the huge verdant campus – which involved cutting grass and trimming bushes which were growing wild all over.

They seemed to be “malingering” and shirking their duties – and this had resulted in the unkempt appearance all over.

The “go-getter” high-flier “OC Adm” tried his best to “motivate” these lazy indifferent gardeners – but his efforts failed.

These indolent slothful gardeners just would not deliver the results the “OC Adm” wanted – and – the “OC Adm” was “pulled up” and admonished for the second time by the Dean.

The “OC Adm” sat in his office and thought about.

It was impossible to make these civilian gardeners work.

So – why not ask Soldiers to do the job…?

(A “Standard Solution” we see used everywhere – if Civilians don’t do their job – call in the Army to do their job)

And – since IAT was an inter-service institution – why not rope in Sailors and Airmen too to join the Soldiers – and – order them to get the campus cleaned up…?

He decided to order a “Shramdan”.

If you have served in the Military – you would be familiar with the term “Shramdan”.

Literally speaking – “Shramdan” means “donation of labour” – and by its very nature – a “donation” is always voluntary – so – ipso facto – “Shramdan” is also voluntary.

But – in the Military – you are “ordered” to “volunteer” – so – Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen were “ordered” to “volunteer” for “Shramdan” and clean up the campus.

(Of course – “OC Adm” didn’t have the guts to call the civilian staff to participate in the “Shramdan”.

He had failed to make civilian gardeners do the job for which they were paid their salary – so – he was apprehensive about asking civilian scientists and administrative staff to do “Shramdan”.

So – only the Military Personnel – Soldier, Sailors and Airmen – were “ordered” by the “OC Adm” to do “Shramdan” and clean up the campus.)

The response of the 3 Service Wings to the “Shramdam” order of the “OC Adm” was as follows:

The Air Force Boss said:

“I am not going to order my Airmen to cut grass. It is not their job.”

The Navy Boss said:

“Well – as far as the Navy is concerned – “Shramdan” is purely voluntary. If some Sailors want to voluntarily go and do “cleanship” – they are welcome to do so.”

The Army Boss told his Officers:

“I want 100% attendance of all Soldiers in this “Shramdan”. In fact – I want all Officers to participate as well. I will be there personally to supervise.”

So – in the end – it was the Soldiers who did the job meant for civilian gardeners – cutting grass, trimming bushes and clearing wild growth – and they painstakingly and laboriously cleaned up the campus – while everyone else watched from the sidelines.

And – I am sure that the “OC Adm” learnt the same lesson that I had learnt from the “Dockyard Matey” incident – because – later – he was always seen consulting his Navy, Air Force and Scientist Colleagues before passing any instructions/orders.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

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Life in the Times of Corona

April 4, 2020

Sharing an insightful article by erudite Naval Scholar Srikant Kesnur (with permission of the author)

LIFE IN THE TIMES OF CORONA

One day, some day, when (when?) it is all over, tales will be told, stories written, movies made about this phenomenon that took hold of our lives and changed the world forever. Hashtag ‘life in the times of corona’ will trend, it will go viral and literature on it will become a pandemic (ok, bad joke). But that’s still in the future. What about the here and now? When almost all of humankind is locked in a mortal combat with a micro-organism.

It was said that black swan events happen ever so rarely – maybe once in a lifetime if one is ‘lucky’. And yet, in the last thirty years we have seen three such cataclysmic developments. First, about three decades ago, when we saw the ‘fall of the wall’ and the collapse of communism. It changed the world that we had known all along. As young people, in early twenties we welcomed the end of several autocracies and dreamt of a new order that would be kinder and better.

Then, two decades ago we saw ‘the fall of twin towers’ and the ‘war on terror’. New words and phrases entered our lexicon, countries and coalitions were now ‘fighting adverbs’, in the memorable words of one author. Again, the world around and about us changed. India had always seen different facets of terrorism, now the rest of the globe was witnessing them first hand.

But what about this? The earlier two events were geo politics related – they held us in thrall but it was a terrain that many of us were comfortable with. And they did not seem to affect the ‘common man’ so much. After all, it was argued, why would the aam aadmi in India or Wanjiku in Kenya worry much about what happened in Romania? Some others may also include the financial meltdown of 2008 and the computer/IT/social media revolution as other seminal events of last three decades. Possibly, they are right. Arguably, the world bounced back from the Lehmann brothers induced crisis and the IT/social media revolution is still ongoing and unfolding in a spectacular manner. Also, while being disruptive to the extreme, developments in the field of IT and media have been viewed as largely beneficial to humankind.

COVID 19 is unlike anything we have seen or known. An unseen microbe that is terrifying us. As a Sailor in my unit said the other day, with an earthy insight, ‘Sir, whether it’s a man eating tiger or mad elephant, a bullet or missile, we at least know what is the danger, where it is coming from. We may not see it but we can sense it”. We can, conceivably, have some barriers against a known and seen enemy. Here, it is invisible but seemingly ubiquitous. And, it is completely non-discriminatory in whom it chooses to attack.

Humankind has faced pandemics before and one may argue that this is not new. Maybe, some were prescient enough to even see this. The Spanish Flu of last century and Ebola of last decade are frequently cited as examples. But one was so last century and other afflicted the so called ‘dark continent’ or undeveloped areas where healthcare systems did not exist. On the contrary, in case of COVID 19, it began life in the second most powerful nation of the world, a rich country and an aspiring hegemon. It has hit nations in Western Europe, USA, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan – all first world nations with state of the art medical facilities. And everybody – medical experts, scientists, economists, epidemiologists, virologists, microbiologists, politicians – is clueless. There is no cure, no vaccine and this contagion spreads faster than anything known before and in a manner that affects every aspect of our daily existence.

If someone had waged a bet with you a year ago, that the world would come to a standstill, if someone had proclaimed a month ago that cities and countries would be in lockdown, if someone had said a fortnight ago that trains and buses and flights will cease to operate we would have laughed our guts off and sent the ROFL emoji. Who would have imagined at the beginning of the third decade of the third millennium that our response to a virus would be to ‘bring our lives to a grinding halt and turn our tails’? Modern, post-modern, globalisation, hi tech, state of the art all seem ironical, even meaningless, phrases in the face of this microbe monster. And arming ourselves with latest missiles, nukes, gadgets, and robots doesn’t seem to help one bit.

To be sure, as a pandemic it might still claim less lives than the previous ones. As someone illustrated with a graphic the other day, Covid 19 is still a small blip compared to even the Swine Flu of a decade ago or HIV/AIDS that’s an ongoing scourge. But I cannot recall any pandemic having this sort of impact, not merely on health but on global economy, global polity and other disciplines, as this one. Author and historian Yuval Noah Harari calls it ‘a global crisis…perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation’. India’s leading commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta, early in the onset of the crisis, wrote of the many dimensions that could play out – nature of governments, privacy concerns, new modes of surveillance, the changing relationship between the citizen and the state. The Foreign Policy journal invited leading thinkers to give their views on a post Covid world order. Many experts have described it as humankind at war or atleast in a warlike situation. Several other articles wonder about the fate of political leaders handling this crisis during the next hustings. Implicit in all this is an acknowledgement that this event is an inflection point, a point which may be seen in future, as some suggest, as time before and after Covid. While that may be an exaggeration, this episode has brought out the stark reality that ‘history has still not ended’ and our enemies may not always be ideological.

But would a new world unfold after Covid. Frankly, I doubt if anyone knows. Covid shows us to be terrible at forecasting, so there is no reason why our predictions elsewhere should be correct. Yet that has not stopped us from imagining that world because we all are (or many of us imagine we are) futurologists of some sort. We reflect the sentiments of the American President and WW 2 General, Dwight Eisenhower who said “in preparing for battle I have found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable’. Thus, we plan for a future based on some dreams and hopes. In the same spirit, therefore, let me reflect or ruminate on what the future could be.  Unlike, many grey eminences who have mulled over the impact this event would have on globalisation, international relations, politics and culture, mine is an attempt to put together a few issues of ordinary human existence that have played out in the last few days.

The first of these relates to our relationship with nature and environment. Much commentary, both informed and uninformed, has hinted that this epidemic is an outcome of our environmental depredations, our excesses against nature and natural ecosystems of rivers, birds, animals, forests, soil and so on. It has been suggested that humankind had gone berserk and this was payback time. As one sardonic message said “we were the virus and Corona is the vaccine”. TV and video messages during the time of lockdowns suggest purer air quality, pristine waters, animals roaming more freely including in urban spaces, more bird songs and a process of ‘earth healing herself’. There is wistfulness about times long past when life was not so past faced and we had the time to appreciate our surroundings. Hence, this episode should (or could) serve as a wakeup call to all of us about our compact with nature. Will we see a benign world that is more caring about sustainable development? Will we see greater action on environmental issues – climate change for example? Will we go easy on deforestation?

Or is this all ersatz posturing? Will it be return to status quo? There are also a couple of uncomfortable questions qua the environment that this event throws up. While regular hand wash is advised (and good), will it result in huge wastage of water – a precious resource in itself? Can the poor and miserable afford this exercise when they don’t get decent water for cooking? Will this deprive the underclass further? What about issue of tissue paper and toilet paper – both come with huge environmental costs? Our TVs showed assorted celebrities demonstrating how to wash hands – with manicured faces next to designer sinks and continuous running water they looked obscene, as though mocking the poor. Soak, Rinse, Lather, Repeat may be a good formula for hands or clothes but is it also a colossal waste of natural resource? So is this designer environmentalism or will we see a kinder gentler new world? While the jury is out on that, we must be thankful that the subject of caring for our natural surroundings has received greater traction with this episode.

The second issue relates to social behaviour. Man is a social animal. In recent days he has been subject to a variety of new norms of behaviour – quarantine, social distancing, lockdown, Janata Curfew and so on. The instinct for self-preservation will enable some sort of temporary compliance. But is this is the harbinger of permanent behavioural change? By nature and character, most of us love company and seek assurance from a helping hand; touch and feel are important to us, embrace, hugs, kisses (the jhappi-pappi modes of expression) convey a lot. Beyond that, the need to laugh and cry together, to party and grieve together, to shake hands or clink glasses, to commiserate or communicate, mandate a group or set of people who are our fellow travellers in the journey of life. The real nuisance value of novel Corona virus is that it can spread so easily – by touch and by merely being in proximity. As the whatsapp meme goes ‘from saying god bless to a sneeze we now say oh my god’. So would this change our norms of social behaviour in future? Would we see less tactile means of greeting (to use the memorable phrase of noted commentator Swapan Dasgupta) or would we resort to saying “Love me? Stay away” as Maj Gen S Pachori, a senior respected friend, says in his blog. Or would we throw all caution to the winds and host ‘Corona parties’ as some people are reportedly doing in Europe and America. I, for one, cannot visualise human beings ploughing a lonely furrow eternally, however valid that is as the ultimate truth of our lives.

This brings us to the related third point. How does a human being handle solitude or loneliness or the physical act of quarantining and reducing the number of people he meets? While on the one hand, there are many views extolling the virtues of spending quality time with family, there are, on the other hand, enough memes and jokes about the horrors that happen when spouses or family members are thrown together for more time than they bargained. Manu Joseph, one of my favourite writers cheekily tweeted ‘spare a thought for all those having affairs’. The underlying thought beneath both themes is the acknowledgement that human beings are not very great at handling protracted periods of ‘relative isolation’ in whatever manner one qualifies the term. Inadvertently, this has resulted in some focus on host of issues – mental health, depression, geriatric care, looking after care givers and tips on how to handle time and relationships. Host of prescriptions have sprung up – from diaries of prisoners kept in solitary confinement to examples of POWs. People in ‘lonely’ professions or avocations have been sought for their advice and in that respect there is none better than my friend and young colleague and great national hero Abhilash Tomy who sailed around the world all alone and almost repeated the feat. Tomy summons an inner calm that many can’t easily claim to have; therefore, his experiences are worth listening to, especially the second time when he awaited rescue, lying with a broken back, on a dismasted vessel, in stormy seas for four days with characteristic phlegmatic resolve and extraordinary willpower. Do read his wonderful column in Hindustan Times of 29 Mar 20 for a masterclass in handling extreme isolation.

But I guess even Tomy can’t do much about the paranoia that this pandemic has induced. We have all been engulfed by a sense of panic bordering on foolishness. “Have I washed my hands for 20 secs or, my god, was it 18? Did I touch that surface with my left hand or right? What is the ph factor in a tomato? Will garlic and ginger save me? That sore throat, should I rush to the hospital? What if this newspaper is carrying germs? Was I more than one metre away when he sneezed? Did she cough in her hanky? Does my handwash have sufficient alcohol?” A variety of such questions that are a mix of suspicion, delusion and paranoia create artificial anxieties. I wonder if human beings have ever felt so vulnerable even in their own homes. It’s not just our inner OCDs coming to the fore; it is also the sum of all our fears surfacing. This paranoia also induces mood swings. Sometimes, we are depressed, conjuring up all doomsday scenarios. The media is not of much help – all sorts of dire predictions about millions and billions and hundreds of billions being affected are making the rounds. Bad news has a way of gaining more currency and, if they are unverified rumours, even more. On other days, we clutch at positive straws.

Maybe, immunity of Indians is greater, perhaps the heat will beat the virus, spicy food will boost our chances, the virus strain is mutating into less vicious one in India and so forth. At the end of the day, we are none the wiser. Information overload drowns us.

So will the post Covid world see many of us behaving as the character Sheldon in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ does – insisting on insulating himself against all sort of germs and viruses. Will we see a more sanitised, sterilised, disinfectant obsessed world? Or will it be a difficult to sustain an artificial bubble? My bets are on the latter, but who knows.

The other dimension to social interaction is the broader one across class echelons as part of our many transactions and contracts. This is another domain affected by Covid 19. While the virus itself hits indiscriminately, greater share of the suffering is borne by the poor and weaker sections of society, as is often the case. The overwhelming narrative in India is that this is a disease that the rich imported through their travels and interactions and inflicted on the poor. Like most narratives, it lacks nuance and depth. However, like most clichés there is a kernel of truth in this. For a long time, the poorer sections, the slum dwellers, the lowest strata seemed removed from the disease, despite shabby living conditions and abysmal standards of hygiene infrastructure. This was remarkable considering how most epidemics seem to usually originate from such quarters. However, lockdown and its economic consequences bring home not just the disproportionate share of suffering inflicted on them but also the human aspects of this tragedy, reflected in the long walk of the migrants. Also, it must be remembered that social distancing, hand washing, etc are privileges to which much of poor in India do not have access.

For middle and upper class India, the sudden deprivation of labour for assortment of services and manual jobs has meant a ‘back to basics’ existence and own share of ‘hardships’. The informal sector was India’s biggest employment generator and its temporary suspension has both political and social implications. Socially, it may have resulted in greater acknowledgement of the work done by the underclass and there are reports of many employers protecting salaries or going out of their way to help their staff. But, beyond this, the salutary effect has been the recognition of a whole lot of ‘ordinary’ professions and menial jobs and their importance in our lives.

In a country that frequently seems besotted by shallow celebrities and artificial icons, by glamorous professions and glitzy middle class obsessions, would this reset some of the terms of engagement. Would we rewrite the compact between the elites and the ‘great unwashed’ in more equitable and benign manner? Would we be able to sustain the groundswell of sympathy and understanding that seem to have percolated among some of us? This would be an interesting space to look out for.

One of the fallouts of lockdown, for a whole lot of us at least, is the possibility of having time for self-introspection. There is now enough ‘me time’. The relation with oneself is an abiding theme of spirituality and religion (used generically) and I am not treading into that territory, though becoming more ‘spiritual’ should certainly be a welcome outcome. I am on the more grounded territory of time to contemplate the ‘hows and whys’ of our life. This is possibly the time to question some certitudes that we had internalised. ‘Are we chasing far too many glories and coveting far too many successes. Are our notions of these faux? Is it time to reset and reboot some buttons in life? Have I ticked my bucket list or am I still in thrall of the rat race? Should I think more of my health, diet and exercise? How do I navigate the rest of my life? Or am I overthinking the whole thing?

Just as earth needed time to heal, humans too needed time to repair. To reflect and ruminate. Since society and nation are but the aggregate of individuals, it may be possible to posit that even a tiny recalibration in a ‘positive’ direction can result in much common weal and public good.

One such example is our civic sense and public hygiene. As Indians, even the poorest are conscious of personal hygiene – it’s a part of our DNA. However, we falter terribly when we come to extending that to public spaces. Coughing or sneezing into a handkerchief is about the most basic forms of etiquette; we surely did not need Covid to tell us that. Spitting in public is detestable at all times and there is no elitism in suggesting that. For long, it was argued that Indians are not amenable to discipline of any kind. However, our behaviour, by and large, during lockdown suggests that it is possible for us to follow civic rules and subject ourselves to a code of conduct. Many commentators have advocated that the government, in fact, use this opportunity to bring (or enforce) behaviour change in public places. Without getting into that debate, it may be possible to cautiously predict that a post Covid India might place greater emphasis on public hygiene. The success of campaigns like ‘Swatcha Bharat’ and the reinvention of Surat, post plague many years ago, are pointers to the fact that we can do it. If that happens, it would mean that some good came out of this ‘mahamaari’.

Of course, it may be argued that lot of our debate and discussion on Covid, including this article, is ‘much ado nothing, an exercise in self-indulgence’. Some perspective is called for and early into the pandemic author Sandipan Deb had written a brilliant piece arguing that we were overhyping the danger and going crazy with our response. More recently, an article doping the rounds of social media by one Jaideep Verma suggest the same. If you overlook the political polemics in the second half of his article, he summons an impressive array of statistics to argue that we are being unnecessarily alarmist and panicky in our personal and social responses. Senior Journalist and commentator Shekhar Gupta (SG) suggested much the same in his ‘National Interest’ column last week.  These gentlemen have not rejected the need for normal precautions and prudent measures; it is just that they advocate a long term view. SG writes about a generation of people in India who have seen wars, terrorism, famine and drought and many other seemingly catastrophic events and how we have not merely overcome but emerged stronger after the event. It is also true that contemporary times (and contemporary mores and, arguably, current generation) have less tolerance for ambiguity, less idea of how to live with uncertainty. Perhaps a more relaxed, languid and positive outlook is the need of the hour, a ‘this too shall pass’ philosophy.

That is, possibly, a good way to pause this piece. While the drama is still unfolding, I have tried to examine the possible impact on environmental consciousness, social behaviour, social interaction, civic sense and personal journeys, of this new phenomenon. At the same time,  I remain aware of the need not to be over obsessed with this ‘damn thing’ and get on with life, welcoming the lockdown as an opportunity to enhance personal growth.

Today, we are at the end of first week of the biggest lockdown in history. While there have been pin pricks plenty, several bad news and the tragedy of migrants, we have, on the whole, reasons to be cautiously, very cautiously, optimistic. For those who feel that lots more could be done, for those who wish to see more concrete action let us note what author Derek Thompson wrote in Atlantic.com, few days ago. He says “In the fog of pandemic, action must come before perfect information….but leaders should be humble, and citizens must be patient, about the fact that no single metric is gospel right now’.

One reason for the optimism is the way the nation has come together. They say a crisis shows much about a country or society. This pandemic has seen several acts of individual courage and institutional resolve. Whether it is development of cheap test kits or flying back our countrymen struck at different places, whether it is acts of charity by the rich and not so rich or the running of community langars we need to applaud several good stories. A long list of people need to be lauded – MEA staff, Air India crew, police, sanitation karmacharis, media, pharmacists, others maintaining essential supplies (from shops to banks to fuel to financial services to textiles), Armed Forces and CAPF and above all the doctors, nurses, paramedics and health workers. This is not a perfunctory hat tip; these positive stories can be the template for a resurgent India. For the country the size of India, with all our argumentative debates and infrastructural constraints, with our heterogeneity and Gini coefficient, these examples could provide the push and momentum needed to come out of this relatively less traumatised. We could become a model for the world in the way we overcome this, as our Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale brought out in a thought provoking article last week.

Just as I am finishing this, a typical social media message announces that by keeping people off road Corona has saved more lives than it has taken because India’s normal daily accident rate is higher than Covid hit rate. It’s a grim way to look for a silver lining but this is a good time to search for the good, bad and ugly in our lives. If we can disinfect our way through that, the post Covid world may just be a new beginning.

Srikant Kesnur

31 March 2020 

(The author is a Naval Scholar) 

This article is also shared on my blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2020/04/life-in-times-of-corona.html

Musings of a Veteran on Donations and Charity

April 1, 2020

Musings of a Veteran on Donations and Charity

Whenever there is a disaster or crisis – many “disaster relief” funds are created – and people are exhorted to donate liberally to these funds.

For example – in the ongoing Corona Virus Pandemic (COVID-19) – a number of relief funds have been created at national, state and organizational levels – and there are appeals to contribute generously.

Many individuals and organizations contribute money to these funds.

Some donate quietly – while others make a big show of it – in order to gain publicity.

In a bid to win “Brownie Points” – heads of some organizations publicly announce “one day salary” to be cut from all their employees and donated to these funds – and some do this with full PR/Media hype showing them handing over gigantic cheques.

(Of course – ostensibly – these salary-cut donations are supposed to be “voluntary” – but – one really wonders whether the consent of each and every employee is genuinely taken – or – are pressure tactics used…?)

A question that arises in one’s mind is whether the huge funds collected will be properly utilized for the purpose for which they have been collected…?

Will there be proper audit and accountability – and total transparency – or – is there a possibility of misuse, siphoning off of money – or even scams…?

(In the past – one has read news reports of such instances – in which money collected for a certain cause was siphoned off or misused for something else. Even now – in the days of donations by digital online transfers of money – prospective donors are being warned to be careful of online scams by fraudsters)

One wonders whether it is prudent to contribute to these relief funds where one may have no knowledge of exactly how one’s donation is being utilized…?

Or – is it better to make a targeted specific contribution of money or material…?

For example – you may want to help an institution in your town – or – you may want to help some specific people.

Is it not better to give them money directly – instead of donating to a generic relief fund – where they may give your money elsewhere…?

If you want to give specific items/equipment/relief material – is it not better to give it directly to the persons you want to help…?

Do “relief funds” give specific details of how they have spent the funds collected…?

A donor must have some degree of control on how his donation has been utilized – and confirmatory feedback must be given to him that his money has been appropriately spent on the cause for which it was donated.

Do agencies who collect “relief funds” ask the donor how he would like his donation to be utilized and give him confirmatory feedback that his donation has been well spent…?

Or – are relief funds like a “Black Hole” – and you don’t know where your money goes – whether it is actually used for the purpose it is intended for – or does the money get dissipated into administrative expenses…?

If you donate money for a specific cause – shouldn’t you have an assurance that your donation will be well spent on that specific cause…?

Do administrators of relief funds give complete specific details of how they have spent the donations received along with audited balance sheets for the perusal of donors…?

Do they actually spend all the money collected via donations received on the specific purpose for which the fund was created…?

What happens to surplus money collected…?

Is it returned back to the donors in a pro rata manner – or – is it transferred somewhere else…?

Is there total transparency – or – is it all quite nebulous…?

One is confused about how the “relief fund” system operates.

That is why I feel that it is better to give targeted donations of money/items to people/institutions – instead of contributing to a general “relief” fund – where you will never know how your donation has been spent – or whether it has been spent on the purpose for which you gave it.

Dear Reader: Please comment and let us know your views. 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2020/04/donations-and-charity.html 

 

Blame Game : Story

April 1, 2020

BLAME GAME
A Teaching Story
Retold by Vikram Karve

A Husband and his Wife came home one day to find that thieves had broken into their home and it was a big burglary.

Their entire valuables, jewelery, and everything portable had been stolen and taken away. Yes, everything had been stolen and the unfortunate couple had lost all their belongings.

“It’s all your fault,” the wife scolded her husband, “You should have made sure that the house was properly locked before we left.”

A neighbor looked sternly at the husband and said, “Maybe you did not lock the windows properly.”

“Why did you not expect this?” another neighbor chided the hapless husband, “You should have installed a burglar alarm!”

“Maybe the locks were faulty. Why did you did not replace them in time?” another neighbor blamed the husband.

“Just a moment,” the husband said, “surely I am not the only one to blame?”

“Then who should we blame?” everyone shouted in unison.

“What about the thieves?” the husband asked, “Are they totally innocent?”

Do You Plan Your Life…? Story of the Old Man at the Fort

March 31, 2020

THE OLD MAN AT THE FORT
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DO YOU PLAN YOUR LIFE…?

Do you believe in planning your life…?

I don’t.

I have stopped planning my life – because – whatever I planned never materialised in my life.

I have learnt the hard way that instead of planning your future – you should just let things happen – and let your life take its natural course.

This lesson is lucidly brought out in Liehtse’s famous parable of The Old Man at the Fort

THE OLD MAN AT THE FORT

An Old Man was living with his Son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill.

One day – he lost a horse.

His fellow villagers came to the Old Man to express their sympathy for this misfortune and Bad Luck.

But – the Old Man said:

“How do you say that this is a misfortune…? The fact of the matter is that – one horse is missing. Now – there is one horse less in the stables. That is the fact. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well – that is a matter of judgment…”

A few days later the Old Man’s lost horse returned along with a number of wild horses.

Now – the Old Man had a large number of horses in his stables.

The villagers came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune – and – they all complimented the Old Man on his Good Luck.

But – the Old Man replied:

“How do you know this is good luck…? The fact of the matter is that there are more horses in my stable than before. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well – that is a matter of opinion…”

With so many horses around – the Old Man’s young son began to take to riding in a big way.

One day while riding a wild horse – the Old Man’s Son was thrown off a horse – and – he broke his leg – and – the accident made him lame in one leg.

Again – the neighbours came around to express their sympathy for the Old Man’s bad luck – that the Old Man’s only son had become lame and disabled for life.

But – the Old Man replied:

“How do you know this is bad luck…? The fact of the matter is that my son is lame in one leg…”

A few years later a great war broke out.

All the able bodied men were forcibly conscripted into the Army – and all of them were sent to the battlefield to fight in the war.

The war was so terrible – that all the young men of the village were killed fighting in the war.

Because the Old Man’s son had a broken leg – he was declared unfit for warfighting and he was not conscripted into the Army.

So – the Old Man’s son did not have to go to the battlefield – and – his life was saved.

All the villagers had lost their sons in the war.

And – all the villagers were envious at the Old Man’s “good fortune” – since he was the only one in the village who still had a living son.

But this time – the villagers did not say anything to the Old Man.

They knew what the Old Man’s dispassionate response would be.

If they complimented him on his good fortune – they knew that the Old Man would probably say:

“How do you know that this is good fortune…? The fact of the matter is that – my son is alive – and – your sons are dead. That is the fact. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well – that is a matter of opinion…”

MORAL OF THE STORY

This parable drives home the lesson that it is better not to plan too much in life.

So – what should you do…?

Simple.

Just do what the Old Man did.

Accept things as they come – don’t resist too much – flow along with events as they happen – and – go along smoothly living your life.

Dear Reader:

Do you agree…? Or – do you still believe that you can plan your life…?

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 post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 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.

Old Man at the Fort

March 31, 2020

THE OLD MAN AT THE FORT
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DO YOU PLAN YOUR LIFE…?

Do you believe in planning your life…?

I don’t.

I have stopped planning my life because whatever I planned never materialised in my life.

I have learnt the hard way that instead of planning your future – you should just let things happen and let your life take its natural course.

This lesson is lucidly brought out in Liehtse’s famous parable of The Old Man at the Fort

The Story of THE OLD MAN AT THE FORT

An Old Man was living with his Son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill.

One day he lost a horse.
His fellow villagers came to the Old Man to express their sympathy for this misfortune and Bad Luck.
But the Old Man said:
“How do you say that this is a misfortune…?
The fact of the matter is that one horse is missing.

Now there is one horse less in the stables.

That is the fact.
Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well – that is a matter of judgment...”

A few days later the Old Mans lost horse returned along with a number of wild horses.

Now – the Old Man had a large number of horses in his stables.
The villagers came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune and – they all complimented the Old Man on his Good Luck.
But the Old Man replied:
“How do you know this is good luck…?
The fact of the matter is that there are more horses in my stable than before.
Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well – that is a matter of opinion…”
With so many horses around the Old Mans young son began to take to riding in a big way.
One day while riding a wild horse the Old Mans Son was thrown off a horse and he broke his leg and the accident made him lame in one leg.
Again the neighbours came around to express their sympathy for the Old Mans bad luck that the Old Mans only son had become lame and disabled for life.
But the Old Man replied:
“How do you know this is bad luck…?
The fact of the matter is that my son is lame in one leg…”

A few years later a great war broke out.

All the able bodied men were forcibly conscripted into the Army and all of them were sent to the battlefield to fight in the war.
The war was so terrible that all the young men of the village were killed fighting in the war.

Because the Old Man’s son had a broken leg he was declared unfit for warfighting and he was not conscripted into the Army.

So the Old Man’s son did not have to go to the battlefield and his life was saved.
All the villagers had lost their sons in the war.
And all the villagers were envious at the Old Man’s good fortune – since he was the only one in the village who still had a living son.
But this time the villagers did not say anything to the Old Man.
They knew what the Old Man’s dispassionate response would be.
If they complimented him on his good fortune they knew that the Old Man would probably say:
“How do you know that this is good fortune…?
The fact of the matter is that my son is alive – and your sons are dead.
That is the fact.
Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well – that is a matter of opinion…”
MORAL OF THE STORY
This parable drives home the lesson that it is better not to plan too much in life.
So – what should you do…?
Simple.
Just do what the Old Man did.
Accept things as they come don’t resist too much flow along with events as they happen and go along smoothly living your life.

Dear Reader:

Do you agree…?

Or do you still believe that you can plan your life…?
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 post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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Humor in Uniform – April Fool

March 31, 2020

Today – is the 31st of March.

Tomorrow – is the 1st of April – April Fool’s Day 

So – here is my story for April Fool’s Day:

Dear Reader – Let me tell you how I was made an “April Fool” – 37 years ago – on the 1st of April 1983.

PROLOGUE

One of my weaknesses is that I am a simpleton.

I easily trust people. 

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

“APRIL FOOL” ON ALL FOOLS’ DAY 

Unforgettable Memories of My Delightful Navy Life

A Spoof By Vikram Karve

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

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

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

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

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

In fact – owing to my trusting nature – I am a simpleton.

Yes – I am quite a gullible person.

Therefore – I am a prime target for April Fool Pranks.

When I hark back and think of the occasions when I was made an unsuspecting victim of April Fool Jokes – and when I recall all the April Fool Pranks I was subjected to – I can never forget how I was made a total “April Fool” – 37 years ago – on the 1st of April 1983.

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

HOW I WAS MADE AN “APRIL FOOL” – a “Memoir” by VIKRAM KARVE

New Delhi

01 April 1983

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

Yes – after slogging for more than 5 years in the Navy – afloat and ashore – I got a call for the M. Tech. selection interview.

I appeared for the interview in February 1981 – and – I was selected to undergo the prestigious Two Year Master of Technology (M. Tech.) Post Graduate Course in Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi aka IIT Delhi from July 1981 to July 1983.

This story happened on 01 April 1983 – when I was in my last semester (4th semester) of my Two Year M.Tech. Course – and – I was busy with my dissertation/research work.

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

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

He said excitedly:

“Hey Vikram – congratulations. 

Your appointment letter has been issued. 

You will be going to “IAT Pune” after your M. Tech.”

I was very happy and joyfully excited to hear this.

Pune is my hometown.

I had never expected a posting to Pune in my Naval Career.

I was under the impression that – except for a few “billets” at the National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakwasla – there were hardly any billets for Naval Officers in Pune – especially for Technical Officers.

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

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

My Navy Friend said to me:

“You don’t seem to be happy to go to Pune…”

I said to him:

“Of course – I am very happy to go to Pune. But how do you know about my appointment…?”

My Navy Friend said to me:

“I had gone to INS India – to the Base Supply Office – for some work.

I saw your name in a NA List over there.

I have just come from there – and I came straight here to tell you the good news that you have been transferred to IAT Pune on Instructional Duties after your M. Tech.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I had gone to INS India – to the Base Supply Office – for some work.

I saw your name in a NA List over there.

I have just come from there – and I came straight here to tell you the good news that you have been transferred to IAT Pune on Instructional Duties after your M. Tech.”

I asked my friend:

“What about you…?

Is your name in the NA list…?

Has your new appointment been issued too..?”

He said to me:

“No – I saw only your name in the NA list.

Why don’t you go down to NHQ and personally get your appointment letter…?”

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

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

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

Yes – my name was very much there – at Serial No. 12 of the list of 20 names.

The entry in the NA list said that I was appointed on Instructional Duties to IAT Pune July DTBR.

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

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

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

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

The Base Supply Officer (BSO) called for the NA List folder.

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

“This NA list has just been issued. 

It will take some time for the appointment letter to reach here. 

They take their own sweet time to dispatch the letters. 

Why don’t you go across to DOP and get your personal copy…?” 

So – I decided to do across to DOP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The DDOP was happy to see me.

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

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

I told him the story.

Then – I gave him the chit on which I had written details of the NA List.

And – I asked the DDOP if I could have a copy of my appointment letter.

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

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

The ADOP looked at the NA List details.

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

“Sir – we haven’t yet issued any appointment letters for officers doing M. Tech. at IIT’s.

Anyway – I will just check and get back to you, Sir.”

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

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

The DDOP looked surprised when her heard this and exclaimed:

“What…? How can that be…?”

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

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

I said to the DDOP:

“Yes, Sir – I saw the NA List.

It is right on top in the NA list folder in the Base Supply Office.”

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

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

The DDOP read out the number of the NA list – he waited for some time – he listened to the voice on the other side.

And then – the DDOP said to me:

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

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

“I am sending the officer to you…”

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

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

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

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

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

EPILOGUE

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

I think the Commodore (my ex ship’s CO) and the DDOP noticed this – so they asked me:

“Tell us your choice of transfer on completion of your M. Tech.”

I said tongue-in-cheek to my ex ship’s CO and the DDOP:

“Sir, my choice of transfer is IAT Pune – I want to be posted to IAT Pune – just like you did in the “April Fool” joke…”

The DDOP smiled at me.

So – I said to the DDOP:

“Sir – if IAT Pune is not possible – please post me anywhere – except INS Valsura Jamnagar. I don’t want to go back there…”

But – the DDOP did not transfer me to IAT Pune.

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

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

Yes – 3 months later – in June 1983 – on completion of my M. Tech. – I was transferred to a billet in New Delhi as Assistant Director Naval R&D.

I was enjoying my tenure in New Delhi.

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

I opened the letter – fearing the worst.

When I read the appointment letter – I was overjoyed.

I had been appointed as Faculty for Instructional Duties to IAT Pune July 1985 DTBR.

Yes – the “April Fool” joke had become a reality.

I have been given my choice transfer to IAT Pune.

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

As they say – All’s well that ends well

Wish You a Happy “April Fool” on ALL FOOLS’ DAY

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/03/humor-in-uniform-april-fool.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story was written by me 7 years ago in 2013 and earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve on 01 April 2014 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 4/01/2014 11:39:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/04/humor-in-uniform-how-i-was-made-april.html  and later reposted at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/april-fool-humor-in-uniform.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/humor-in-uniform-april-fool-on-all.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/april-fool-2/ and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/humor-in-uniform-april-fools-day/  and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2019/03/how-i-was-made-april-fool.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/humor-in-uniform-practical-joke.html

Humor and Wisdom – A Teaching Story – The Protective Father and his Obedient Daughter

March 30, 2020

The PROTECTIVE FATHER and his OBEDIENT DAUGHTER

A Teaching Story

Retold By Vikram Karve

A Father wanted to protect his Daughter from the dangers of life.

When the time had come to make his daughter worldly-wise – and she had grown into a true flower of beauty – the protective father took his daughter aside – and he told her about the baseness and malice of the world.

The Father said to his Daughter:

“My dear daughter – remember what I tell you.

All men want only one thing.

Yes – remember that men are very cunning.

They set traps wherever they can.

You don’t realize how you sink deeper and deeper into the swamp of their desires.

I want to warn you against the way of unhappiness.”

The innocent daughter was confused and she said to her father:

“Traps…? Unhappiness…? I didn’t understand…”

The Father said to his daughter:

“I will explain to you.

This is how they go about it.

First – the man swoons about your best features – he praises you – he flatters you – and he admires you.

Then – he invites you to go out with him.

He takes the road via his house – and when the two of you pass his house – he mentions that he just wants to fetch his coat.

He asks you if you would like to come in the house with him.

Upstairs – he invites you to have a seat – and he offers you some wine.

Then – he puts on some romantic music – and the two of you listen to music.

After that – when the time is right – he suddenly throws himself on you.

In this way – you are violated.

And we – your parents – we are disgraced.

And – all of us – we have to suffer shame and ignominy – and the reputation of entire our family is destroyed.

And once your reputation is ruined – it is destroyed forever…”

The daughter took these words of her father to heart.

A few days later – the daughter came up to her father – and she smiled proudly.

The Daughter said to her Father:

“Father – you are really great.

How did you know how everything happens…?

I met a man today – and – it was exactly like you described it.

First – he admired my beauty.

Then – he asked me out.

As if by coincidence – we passed his house.

There – the poor fellow noticed he had forgotten his coat.

And – so that I wouldn’t be alone – he invited me to come on into his apartment.

As good manners require – he offered me wine – and he put on some lovely romantic music.

At the point – I remembered your advice – and I knew exactly what would happen.

But – you see – I am worthy to be your daughter.

When I felt the moment coming – I threw myself on him – and I violated him.

Yes – I violated him – and I destroyed his reputation – and thereby – I ruined the reputation of his parents and his entire family.

Yes – instead of him violating me – I violated him.

I was proactive.

Before he could throw himself on me and violate me – I threw myself on him – and I violated him thoroughly – and – I destroyed his reputation forever.

——————————————–

Dear Reader: Did you like the story…?

Tell me – what is the moral of the story…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, 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.

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Link to my source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2012/03/effective-communication-reputation.html

This is a revised repost of my blog post which I have posted many times on my various blogs including at url http://creative.sulekha.com/for-effective-communication-avoid-cognitive-noise-reputation-a-mulla-nasrudin-story_88237_blog and https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/effective-communication-a-story-reputation/ etc

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