Posts Tagged ‘management’

ECHS Pune – Mismanagement Woes

July 13, 2016

Topical Article on Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Mismanagement Woes in Pune affecting Healthcare of Military Veterans and Families of Ex-Servicemen (ESM)

Source: Where has ECHS gone wrong?

Article is also reproduced below for your convenience from url: 

Where has ECHS gone wrong…? 


  • Unable to pay hospitals their dues
  • Is treatment of ex-servicemen and their families becoming a liability to the MOD?

By Sangeeta Saxena

New Delhi. 10 June 2016. Today it is Pune, tomorrow it will be somewhere else and for all one knows there could be many more such Ruby Halls  already existing in the country. Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) cashless facilities have been discontinued to beneficiaries due to an outstanding of over Rs. 5.50 Crores  from 01-06-16.

Speaking to ex-servicemen  and by the virtue belonging to a family of one I realised only those living in Delhi and Chandigarh were happy with the ECHS Polyclinics and empaneled hospitals, the others had sordid tales of woe to tell.

It is pathetic to see that a scheme which started with goodwill and welfare should come to such a condition. Is ECHS finding it difficult to serve the ex-servicemen and their families? Is there a crunch in finances that it is making it difficult  to pay the dues to empaneled hospitals and is there a lack of cash at the Polyclinics level to procurement medicines both routine and life saving?

Non availability of funds with the MD ECHS has had a cascading adverse effect on planning and execution of healthcare of ECHS members. Super Specialty Hospitals and other good hospitals are not offering themselves to be empanelled because of the non clearance of their bills in time.  Suggestion was given by ex servicemen  to MD ECHS to clear 50 percent of the hospital bills within one week of receipt of the bills and remaining 50 percent be cleared within 30 days, after due evaluation, analysis and verification.  Ex servicemen  are told that such a proposal is lying with Secy DESW for a considerable time for approval.

A large number of good Super Specialty Hospitals initially empanelled with ECHS, have withdrawn for want of clearance of their bills and the remaining empanelled hospitals are also under financial stress and on the verge of discontinuing empanelment.    The required funds need to be released well in time to ensure smooth execution ECHS.

ECHS  was launched with effect from 01 April 2003. The Scheme aims to provide allopathic Medicare to Ex-servicemen pensioner and their dependents through a network of ECHS Polyclinics, Service medical facilities and civil empanelled/Govt hospitals spread across the country. The Scheme has been structured on the lines of CGHS to ensure cashless transactions, as far as possible, for the patients and is financed by the Govt of India.

ECHS is a flagship Scheme of the Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welafre. The aim of Scheme is to provide quality healthcare of Ex-servicemen pensioners and their dependents. As on date, a total of 13,48,517 Ex-servicemen have enlisted with the Scheme along with 30,03,577 dependents. Total beneficiaries of the Scheme, thus amount to 43,52,094.

Policy framework for the Scheme is laid down by the Governmentt and executive control is exercised by the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare. The Scheme is managed through the existing infrastructure of the Armed Forces so as to minimize the administrative expenditure. The existing infrastructure includes command and control structure, spare capacity of Service Medical facilities (Hospitals and Medical Inspection Rooms), procurement organization for medical and non-medical equipment, Defence land and buildings etc. Station Commanders assisted by Senior Executive Medical Officers (SEMO) exercise direct control over the ECHS Polyclinics.

The Central Organisation ECHS is located at Delhi and functions under the Chiefs of Staff Committee through the Adjutant General in the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army). The Central Organisation is headed by a Managing Director, a serving Major General.

There are nearly 30  Regional Centres sanctioned by the Govt and ECHS Polyclinics are designed to provide ‘Out Patient Care’ which includes consultation, essential investigation and provision of medicines. Specialized consultations, investigations and ‘In Patient Care’ (Hospitalization) is provided through spare capacity available in Service hospitals and through civil hospitals empanelled with ECHS. Polyclinics are categorized as Type A to E based on the number of Ex-servicemen residing in that area.

The beneficiary reports to the ECHS Polyclinic and registers with his/her smart card at the reception and is allocated a Medical Officer (MO). In case of OPD patient the MO prescribes medicines which may be obtained from the pharmacy of the polyclinic. In case of in-patient treatment, the beneficiary is referred by the MO to a Service hospital, in case the polyclinic is in Military station. In case of non-availability of bed in Service hospital, the patient is referred back to the polyclinic for referral to an empanelled hospital. Once referred, the patient gets treated from the empanelled facility on a cashless basis. The empanelled facility processes the claim online/manually after the patient is discharged . In case of polyclinics located in non-Military station, the OIC refers the patient to the nearest Service hospital/empanelled facility.

The ECHS currently has over 40 lakh beneficiaries. This number is going to steadily increase in the future and is expected to stabilize at 65 lakhs by 2020. So where has the ECHS gone wrong? It started with a great aim but somewhere down the lane lost the focus. Or is the growing ex-servicemen fraternity so large that ECHS cannot bear the costs of treatment in private hospitals? Perhaps it can learn a lesson or two from its better run big brother CGHS.

Above Article reproduced from url below for reading convenience of military veterans :

 Food for Thought : Military Metaphors in Management Jargon

March 22, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Military Metaphors in Management Jargon


Musings of a Veteran By VIKRAM KARVE

The Art and Science of Management owes its genesis and evolution to the Military.

Modern Management theories, concepts, techniques and practices emerged in the 1950’s from the experiences and lessons learnt during World War 2 (particularly in The United States of America by organizations like the RAND Corporation).

For example – the concept of systems analysis – which involves looking at a particular problem not in isolation but rather in the context of the whole system of which it is a part and then explicitly examining the consequences of alternative courses of action – was developed at RAND in the 1950’s to address military challenges.

The revolutionary technological concepts of information technology like internet and software and hardware technologies on which today’s corporate world depend so extensively also emanated from the military. In fact – RAND was the birthplace of the Internet’s basic distributed network technology.

Isn’t it therefore ironic that the reverse is happening today?

Yes – it was the military that gave modern management principles to the civilian corporate world.

And – today we see a paradoxical situation of military men running to Civilian Business Schools and Management Institutes to “learn” management and acquire the coveted MBA degree which is the sine qua non and all important passport for entry into the corporate world.

It is also amusing to see so-called management experts from the corporate world, safely ensconced in the comfort of their air-conditioned offices, who are far removed from the experience of war and who have never seen a shot fired in anger, boast of using military strategy in boardrooms, and advocating the use of military tactics in sales and marketing.

These management gurus freely bandy about terms like “foot soldiers”, “generals”, “field experience” – and liberally quote from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and other military classics.

It has become fashionable to call competitors as “enemies” and use terms like “battles” and “leading from the front” – little realizing that there is a vast difference between the rules of engagement pertaining to corporate “wars” and actual wars fought on real battlefields.

This metaphorical imagery may sound appealing to civilians – but – the stakes are vastly different.

If a manager does not “win” – he risks losing his job – and he may cause a financial loss to his company.

If a military officer does not win – he risks losing his life (and those of his men) – and he can cause defeat in war to his country – which can have catastrophic consequences.

Think about it.


Copyright © Vikram Karve
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Human Resource (HR) Management : How to Ensure Obedience

October 2, 2015

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE OBEY ORDERS

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Leadership Mantra

In the Navy there is a maxim:


Here is a apocryphal story that demonstrates how to elicit willing obedience.

Do you want to know the secret of how to make people obey your orders..?

Read on …



“As a leader – you must ensure that whatever instructions you give and all the orders you pass are properly obeyed,” a renowned Management Guru pontificated to his audience at the leadership training workshop he was conducting for policemen.

The eager beaver trainees listened in rapt attention as the Management Guru thundered, “Enforcement of orders – that’s the key to effective leadership – you must be able to enforce all orders and ensure compliance of all instructions and rules by the public.”

At the end of the training, a wizened policeman came up to the Management Guru and said, “Sir, all this is fine in theory – but it does not work in practice. It is easy to give lectures – but practical implementation is a different matter altogether.”

“What do you mean?” the Guru asked.

From where I come it is impossible to make anyone obey orders. There is just no discipline in that place – the people out there just do not obey instructions. They are most unmanageable and disobedient,” the cop said.

“From where do you come?”

“Pune,” the cop said.

“Okay. I am coming to Pune next week. We will discuss there,” the Guru said.


A few days later – the policeman took the Management Guru on a tour of Pune City.

“See,” the cop said pointing towards a NO PARKING sign, “look at the number of vehicles parked in the “No Parking” Zone. We keep trying to educate everyone – we impose fines on defaulters – we tow away wrongly parked vehicles – but it is of no use. No one seems to be bothered about obeying rules – so we too have stopped bothering about it.”

The Cop took the Guru to a Garden Park.

There was a sign: DO NOT PLUCK FLOWERS

But – there was a woman plucking flowers right next to the signpost.

DO NOT LITTER THE LAWN – a signboard said.

But – people were throwing all sorts of waste including paper plates and dumping remains of their food on the lawn.

Of course – no one bothered about the DO NOT EAT FOOD IN THE GARDEN notice too – and there were a large number of people eating food sitting on the lawns of the garden.

It was a similar situation everywhere.

Every instruction was ignored.

People were spitting – despite DO NOT SPIT signs.

People were driving the wrong way into one-way streets – ignoring NO ENTRY traffic signs.

Many persons were seen merrily smoking cigarettes in NO SMOKING areas.

The traffic on the roads was totally chaotic as drivers jumped traffic signals and cared two hoots about following traffic rules.

It was impossible to walk on the pavement due to encroachments.

The policeman was right – the people of this town just did not obey any instructions – and nobody seemed to be bothered about rules and regulations.

“So,” the policeman said gleefully to the Guru, “what do have to say now?”

“Come to the park in the evening at 6 o’clock,” the Guru told the policeman, “I will show you how to get these people to obey orders.”

“Really?” said the disbelieving policeman, “okay I will come – and I will bring my bosses too. We will all like to see how you are going to achieve this miracle – do you really think people of Pune will obey instructions – just imagine?”


In the evening a posse of cops and the policeman reached the park.

They were bewildered at what they saw.

On the lawns of the garden – the Management Guru had put up a big signboard.

On this signboard was boldly written:


A number of people were looking at the notice with amusement.

Some stood there staring at the notice and laughing.

Others looked at the notice and then walked away smiling.

But – no one was eating stones.

Yes – the order was being strictly obeyed – NOT EVEN A SINGLE PERSON WAS EATING STONES.

Everyone was obeying the order written on the signboard: “ DO NOT EAT STONES

The triumphant Guru looked at the flabbergasted policemen – and he said:“Do you see anyone disobeying this order…? Do you see even a single person eating stones…?”

Before the dumbfounded cops could say anything – the Guru said:

“Always remember one thing:

Willing obedience is always better than forced obedience

Yes – if you want people to obey your orders – always remember the dictum:


PS: On a serious note – I saw in the Navy that this mantra works. The moral of the story is that if you issue orders that are acceptable and implementable – your orders will be willingly obeyed – and there will be no need to force compliance – and – forced obedience should be enforced only in extreme/emergency situations.

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.

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

I used to tell this leadership mantra to my junior officers, senior sailors, trainees and students long ago and have also posted it in my blog a number of times.
Here are links to my some of my earlier posts:…  and…  and…  and…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 10/02/2015 05:56:00 PM

Compatibility Issues in Arranged Marriage – Does Your Spouse “LIKE” You

August 6, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DOES YOUR WIFE “LIKE” YOU.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

(or – Does Your Husband “Like” You ?)
Incoherent Gobbledygook of a Veteran on Mystery of Marriage
A Spoof


In a “Love Marriage” – the question “Does your spouse like you…?” – is irrelevant.

In a love marriage – the husband and wife marry because they are in love.

And – the very fact that they are in “love” – means that the husband and wife “like” each other – “ipso facto” – because – if you do not “like” a person – how can you fall in “love” with that person?

So – in a “Love Marriage” – it is obvious that the husband and wife like each other.

However – in “Arranged Marriages” – the situation is entirely different.

When I was in the Navy – I saw many marriages where the wife did not seem to “like” the husband – or vice versa.

Of course – these were all “arranged marriages”.

Why go further – even in my case – after more than 33 years of marriage – I still cannot accurately fathom whether my wife actually “likes” me – though – over the years – I seem to have developed a liking for her.

There can be countless reasons why your spouse may not “like” you.

Every husband and wife may have their own unique reasons why they do not like their partner.

However – recently – I heard a phrase which encapsulates all these myriad reasons in a nutshell – “compatibility issues”.


Let me tell you how I heard of this term – “compatibility issues”.

A few years ago – I attended the wedding of a “Techie” Boy – and “IT Nerd”.

Last week – while strolling on Main Street – I suddenly ran into him.

The “Techie” boy was with his wife.

He introduced me to his wife.

His wife gave me a courteous smile – and said that she was glad to meet me.

She behaved as if this was the first time she was seeing me.

I was surprised – since I had attended their marriage just a few years ago – and generally – no one forgets my face – thanks to my handsome beard – and my rather “abrasive personality”.

“Don’t you remember me?” I asked the young lady.

“No – I don’t think we have met before,” she said to me.

“Well – I attended your wedding reception…” I said.

“How is that possible? We had a very private marriage ceremony…” she said.

I noticed a strange expression on my “Techie” friend’s face – as if he was non-verbally telling me not to ask these questions – so I did not pursue the conversation further – and – instead – I suggested that we have some rolls, sandwiches and cold coffee at one of my favourite places just opposite the road.

Once inside the eatery – when the wife was seated – and we were standing near the self-service counter – the young “Techie” told me that this lady was his second wife – he had divorced his first wife (whose wedding I had attended 3 years ago) – and he got remarried to this woman (his second wife) just one month ago.

“Oh – I am sorry – but – what happened – why did your first marriage breakup so quickly – you got divorced within 3 years of your wedding…?” I asked.

“Actually – we got divorced within 2 years – but the marriage had broken down much earlier – within a year…” he said.

“What happened…? What was the reason for your divorce…?” I asked.

“Compatibility Issues,” he said.

What a simple all-encompassing expression for breakup of a marital relationship – “compatibility issues”.

Call it a coincidence – but the very next morning – I read on ‘Page 3’ of a tabloid that a small-time celebrity had said that her marriage broke up due to “compatibility issues”.

I laughed to myself – if “compatibility” had been an “issue” – my wife and I would have been divorced at least a thousand times by now.

But – jokes apart – I seem to have digressed from the moot question:

Does your spouse “like” you…?

As I have said – there can be umpteen reasons why a wife does not like her husband – or vice versa – there may be even more reasons why a husband does like his wife.


In literature – many stories, novels and plays have been written on this theme.

One notable story I remember on this theme of a wife who does not like her husband is THE WREATH by Luigi Pirandello

I read the English translation of this story in the short fiction anthology GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD published by Reader’s Digest.

In this story – a young woman who is 22 years old is married to a 40 year old man – the husband is 18 years older than the wife.

The youthful wife does not like her middle-aged husband.

And – why does she not “like” her husband – who is a kindhearted doctor…?

When the woman was an 18 year old girl – she had fallen in love with a boy.

But – sadly – the boy suddenly died due to typhus.

The same doctor had been called to treat the boy and was by the boy’s bedside when he died.

Stricken by grief – the girl almost lost her mind – and became a recluse.

She refused to get married – and declined many good matrimonial offers.

Sometime later – the doctor proposed to her – and – surprisingly – the girl accepted.

Everyone else was surprised too – since the doctor was 18 years older than the girl.

Soon – the doctor realized that his young wife did not like him.

The doctor loved his young wife – but she did not like him.

In her heart – she still yearned for her first love – the young boy – her dead lover – and she secretly placed a wreath at his grave on every anniversary of his death.

One day – the doctor accidentally discovered this.

What happened next – for that – you will have to read the story.

But – the moot question is:

Why did the young wife not “like” her husband…?

Was it because of the age difference – because her husband was much older than her…?

Was it because of her love affair with the boy – her first lover – who she was unable to forget – although he was dead…?

Or – to use my newly learnt clichéd phrase – was it due to “compatibility issues”…?


In conclusion – Dear Friends – if you are “enduring” an arranged marriage – and if you feel that your spouse does not “like” you – just put it down to “compatibility issues” – and do not bother too much about it – and get on with your “happy” married life…

If you want to enjoy your “Arranged Marriage” – don’t delve too much…

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

1. This is a spoof, light-hearted 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.


Amazing Romance – THE MAID – An Awesome Love Story

July 13, 2015

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

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Short Fiction – A Love Story
A Spoof


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wore my helmet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After some time – a young woman opened the door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks…” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She gave me a sweet smile.

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

“Good Morning…” she said.

“Good Morning, Ma’am…” I said.

I looked out of the window.

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

“What time is it…?” I asked.

“7:30…” she said.

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

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

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

“Okay…” she said.

“When will “X” be back…?” I asked.

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

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

“Yes…” she said.

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


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

No wonder I had not met him all these days.

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

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

I reached his office at 10 AM.

“X” was happy to see me.

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

“Wife…?” he asked – looking confused.

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

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

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

“Impossible…” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tea arrived – and we sipped our tea.

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

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

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

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

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

“X” laughed – and said, “okay…”

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

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


I was flying abroad for some work.

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

I told her my name.

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

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

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

“He told our ‘Maid’ too…” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

A car entered the ‘food court’ parking lot.

I could not believe my eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“May I join you…?” I asked.

“Of course…” he said.

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

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

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

“That’s great…” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not yet…” he said, nonchalantly.

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

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

His silence spoke volumes.

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

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

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

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

I got up from my seat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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

“WORK” IS “FUN” – How to Avoid the Tom Sawyer Trap

June 9, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: “WORK” IS “FUN”.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Ramblings of a Retired Mind


When someone offers you money to do a job – they pay you for two things:

1. Of course – you are paid for your expertise

2. But more importantly – you are paid for your time

When you are paid money to do something – you work under obligation.

When you work under obligation – people have expectations from you – and you have to meet deadlines and deliver results.

Let me give you an example.

Towards the end of my “work-life” – I taught at a University.

Since I was paid a salary – I was “obliged” to take lectures and conduct various types of training courses.

I could not “pick and choose” – and though I enjoyed training more than teaching – I had to do both.

Of course – you were given choice of subject to the extent feasible – but sometimes – I had to teach subjects I did not like to students who were more interested in grades than learning – though I preferred training young inductees who were keen and enthusiastic to learn.

Now – I have retired.

Many institutions/organizations do call me as a “guest lecturer” for teaching/training.

But now – I am free to pick and choose – yes – as long as I don’t take money – I am under no obligation.

So – I go where I enjoy myself – and I decline where I do not want to go.

During my long career in the Navy too – I was quite lucky – as most of the time I enjoyed autonomy to work in my style.

Most of my bosses gave me a free hand.

And my “abrasive personality” helped in the case of “nosey-parker” bosses who tried to “micromanage” me – after a few “encounters” – they stopped interfering and kept a safe distance.

In the Navy there is a dictum:

When you are given a task – You “like” it or you “lump” it.

I tried to make sure – that in most of my jobs – I “liked” it – and my bosses “lumped” it

However – since I was paid a salary – I was “obliged” to meet deadlines and deliver results – which I did – and – sometimes – I did have to do jobs that I did not enjoy doing.

Yes – if you are paid money – then you are under obligation to “sell” your expertise and your time to your employer/client who has “bought” your expertise and time.

While your “expertise” is important – your “time” is more important.

In order to realize your full potential – you must have the “autonomy” to optimally utilize your expertise.

And – if you want to enjoy autonomy – you must have total control of your time.

Not being under obligation gives you full freedom on how to use your time to realize your full potential while enjoying the work you want to do without being under pressure to deliver.

Unless you are a “Maharaja” or “Nawab” or a “Freeloader” – you may have to “work” to earn a living.

However – you can certainly try to strike a balance between “salary” and “obligation” while choosing your job.


Obligation can be non-monetary too.

You may “promise” to do something – you give a “commitment” to someone – and you come under “moral obligation” to do the task you have promised/committed to do.

In your relationships – you can come under “emotional obligation” to do something for your loved ones, friends, colleagues and others.

So – you must be careful before you make “promises” and “commitments” – especially those you think will be difficult or laborious to keep.


Obligation is akin to “extrinsic motivation”.

“Working” without obligation emanates from “intrinsic motivation” – when you do something of your “free will” because you enjoy doing it.

Working under obligation can be stressful (because of the “obligation” to meet deadlines and deliver results).

Working without obligation is sheer enjoyment – in fact – “work without obligation” becomes “play”.

Let me give you an example.

From my early days in the Navy – because I have an academic bent of mind and have penchant for reading and writing – in addition to my normal duties – I was involved in various “intellectual” and “literary” activities – writing articles/research papers, editing in-house magazines/reports/special news supplements, compiling/collating reference documentation, organizing conferences/seminars, conducting training etc.

Then – I could not do as I pleased – I had to work within the framework under constraints and deadlines – because I was “obliged” to do so.

Now – after retirement – I enjoy my creative writing as I please – I am free to write what I want to, when I want to, where I want to – no deadlines – no constraints – no pressure to deliver.

Working without obligation is fun.


You must be careful not to be “tricked” into obligation by bosses who will try to make drudgery appear enjoyable – and fool you by making “work” appear as “play”.

Daniel H. Pink, in his insightful book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” describes the “Sawyer Effect”.

Pink defines the Sawyer Effect as “practices that can either turn play into work or turn work into play” – derived from an episode from Mark Twain’s book “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” in which Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into painting a fence for him by convincing them painting a fence was a fun activity.

Many smart bosses use this “Sawyer Effect” to trick their subordinates by “convincing” them that a laborious task is indeed fun.

The Military makes use of this “Tom Sawyer Trap” concept very effectively.

By using “pep talks” and jingoistic terms like “josh” – Military Training Academies use the “Sawyer Effect” to “motivate” Cadets into believing that tough physical tasks like combat training, parade drill, boxing and cross-country running are actually “fun”.

Various jingoistic motivating stratagems like “Regimental Spirit”, “Esprit De Corps” etc are used to whip up intrinsic motivation and morale.

Of course – this is fully justified in wartime when it is required to raise soldiers’ fervour to a fighting pitch.

Business and Corporate Organizations also justify the use of “Sawyer Effect” in order to extract “value for money” from their high-salaried employees.

But – as far as you are concerned – you must be careful that someone does not trap you into obligation by cleverly using the “Tom Sawyer Trap” against you – especially by playing with your emotions.

You can be trapped into obligation due to your financial, moral and emotional vulnerabilities.

I have seen many persons get trapped into social obligations since they allowed their emotional vulnerability to be exploited by the “Tom Sawyer Effect”.

I was trapped many times into taking up writing, teaching and training assignments which appeared to be “enjoyable” but turned out to be quite painful.

That is why I have stopped committing to doing “guest blogging”, editing, reviews etc – and I avoid teaching and training assignments which create a sense of obligation.

I like to keep busy – so I never sit idle – and I am always “working”.

But – I try my best to avoid any “work” where there is a sense of obligation.

Now – I want to “work” without obligation.

As I head towards the autumn of my life – my most precious commodity is “Time” – and – I do not wish to trade my time for anything else.

I want to be free to use my time as I want to – without any obligations.

“Work” without obligation is “Fun”

Yes – for me – “Work” is “Fun”

And – I want to have Fun.

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

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

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

Posted by Vikram Karve at

6/09/2015 03:56:00 PM

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

May 29, 2015

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

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

The 6 P’s of Military Life
A Spoof

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

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

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


The 6 P’s of Military Life – Self Help for “Faujis” by Vikram Karve

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

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

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

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

He is reported to have sent one of his monthly routine reports on a chappati(a flat unleavened Indian Bread).

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

In reply, the Commanding Officer sent the now classic retort:

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

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

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

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

1. PAY 



(He called them the 3 P’s

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Ambition is like ringworm

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

Every officer wants to get promoted. 

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

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

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

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

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

Modest Career Prospects and Moderate Pay. 

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

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

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

If you get promoted, well and good.

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

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


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

Everyone gets posted or transferred.

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

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

3 P’s

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

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

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

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


The 3 P’s of Retirement

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

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

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




When you retire you lose your “position power”.

The higher you are the greater the loss of power. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Dear Fellow Officer (Serving and Retired): 

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

It works – you can take my word for it.

Do you agree? 

Oh  you don’t? 

Please comment and tell us your views. 

As always  I look forward to your feedback.

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

1. These tips are based on my own experience and represent my personal views which may not be universal in nature and may not apply to you. You must make your own career decisions with due diligence.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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

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

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

New Age Military Wisdom – WHAT IS THE AIM OF AN OFFICER – The Most Important OLQ (Officer Like Quality)

May 9, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – WHAT IS THE AIM OF AN OFFICER.

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


Military Wisdom – The Most Important OLQ (Officer Like Quality)
A Spoof


During our training days – many senior officers were invited to give us talks on “Officer Like Qualities” (OLQ) – and give us tips on how to succeed in our Naval Careers.

Some officers gave us inspirational “pep talks” – some pontificated – giving us sermons on “Do’s and Don’ts” – and some tried to motivate us with “moral lectures”.

But there was one unique officer who was different.

He said: “The aim of an officer is to get promoted.”

We were taken aback.

Seeing the expression in our faces – he reiterated: “Yes, gentlemen – you heard me right. Your primary aim is to get promoted. All other things are secondary. In the military – only one thing matters – the rank you wear on your shoulders. That is all that matters. Nothing else matters. Just remember that. So – wherever you are – analyze the situation – especially study your boss – your IO – the Officer who will be writing your Annual Confidential Report (ACR) – and work towards getting a good ACR. In the military – promotion depends on your ACRs – all that matters is your ACRs – so you must ensure that you get the best ACRs – for this you will have to be flexible and smart – you must adapt yourself depending on the likes and dislikes of your boss – since different officers have different yardsticks. Some bosses value professional performance – others value personal loyalty – and others – well – it is very subjective and varies from person to person. In every appointment – be alert – do your homework well – be smart – and ensure that you are in sync with your boss – and make sure you get outstanding ACRs at any cost. If you do this – you will succeed – and you will reach high rank.”

At that point of time – we were young naïve idealistic officers.

We believed in romantic virtues like ‘moral values’ and ‘ethical principles’.

We were inspired by patriotic fervor.

We genuinely believed in the ‘military ethos’ enshrined in the “Chetwode Motto”:

“The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time.
The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command comes next.
Your own ease, comfort and safety comes last, always and every time”

We were inspired by jingoistic slogans like “Service before Self”.

That is why we were appalled when we heard this senior officer telling us:

“The cardinal aim of an officer is to get promoted”

He was advising us that in order to achieve this prime objective – we must ensure sure that we get outstanding ACRs at any cost.

It was ironic.

This senior officer was an alumnus of the celebrated military training institution whose motto was “Service before Self”.

Despite this – he was propagating the exact opposite – and exhorting us to put“Self before Service”.

His “Self before Service” dictum seemed the exact opposite of what we believed in at that point of time.

That is why we were shocked and disappointed with this officer’s lecture.

This officer was propounding exactly the opposite of the values we cherished.

At first we thought that this officer was joking – maybe he was employing a rather sarcastic sense of humor just to entertain us.

But later – we realized that this officer “walked his talk”.

He was not a hypocrite – he practiced what he preached.

By “managing” his career astutely – by focusing on getting the best ACRs – by doing the right courses and appointments – by being in the right place at the right time under the right boss – by deploying all his resources – professional, personal, familial – towards realizing his prime objective of getting promoted – he had succeeded in attaining the highest possible rank and the most prestigious appointment in his branch.

As I said – at that point of time – after hearing his “pep talk” lecture on OLQ – I was quite skeptical.

I realized the true wisdom of his words 20 years later – when I witnessed an incident which convinced me – albeit too late in life – that – in the military:“The primary aim of an officer is to get promoted”.

This defining incident – and many other similar experiences throughout my long navy career – convinced me that in the military – it was only your rank that mattered.

In fact – even after retirement – this obsession with rank continues – for various retirement facilities like ECHS Healthcare, CSD Canteens etc.

Witness the latest “battle” being waged by retired military veterans for OROP (One Rank One Pension).

Even after retirement – for military veterans – “Rank” is the cardinal factor – since it is your rank that will determine your pension – unlike civilians – whose pension is primarily determined by years of service – which seems more just and fair.

Tell me – why should a Brigadier who retires after 25 years service get more pension that a Colonel who retires after 30 years service?

If you ask this question to any “fauji” – serving or retired – he will give you the quintessential military rhetoric: “Rank Has Its Privileges”.


The Military (Army Navy and Air Force) recognizes Rank – and is blind to everything else – including logic, reasoning or rationale.

By definition – the “superior” officer is the one who holds higher rank (and not higher intellect or qualifications).

Whenever there is a disagreement – professional, managerial, ethical or otherwise – the views of the higher ranking officer always prevail.

If there is an issue between two officers – the senior is always right.

If there is a perk or privilege to be given – the senior gets it first.

The Navy is a uniformed service – like the Army and Air Force.

A unique feature of a uniformed service is that your rank is visible to all – since you wear your rank badges or stripes on your shoulder.

This is not so in the civilian world where your “rank” is known only to your workplace colleagues.

In the military – Rank has its Privileges (RHIP) in all aspects of life – professional, social and personal.

In fact – if you are in the military – your rank is the “be-all and end-all” of life – from “womb” to “tomb”.

Like I said – thanks to OROP – even your pension depends on your rank – and not on your years of service, as in the case of civilians, who get equitable pension due to ACP, NFU, NFFU etc.

And while in service – there is visible and blatant ‘rank based discrimination’ in all aspects of life – professional, personal, social and familial.

This RHIP concept is sometimes taken to ridiculous limits – and even liquor quota depends on rank – the higher your rank – the more booze you get.

Yes – your rank is the “be-all and end-all” of life in the defence services.

That is why – as the shrewd senior officer said in his pep-talk:

“The primary aim of an officer is to get promoted to high rank at any cost.

You don’t agree?

Let me tell you a story.


Now – as an illustrative example of RHIP – let me tell you about an unforgettable incident which happened more than 15 years ago.

One evening – after returning from work – I walked to the reception counter of our Navy Command Officers Mess to collect my cabin key.

I was delighted to see “B” sitting in waiting area.

“B” was around 2 years senior to me.

I knew “B” since our training days – and I had the highest respect and regard for him.

“B” was truly a first-rate officer in all aspects – he was professionally competent, morally upright – and he had the best “Officer Like Qualities” (OLQ).

As young Lieutenants – in the late 1970’s – “B” and I had served in sister ships of the frigate squadron in the fleet.

Whenever I needed help or advice – I knew that I could always turn to “B” who was always ready to help any of his fellow officers.

After that – we went our different ways – transferred all over – depending on where our respective appointments took us.

As they say – the navy is a place of transient acquaintanceships – where friendships are like passing ships.

And now – after a gap of more than 20 years – I was meeting “B” again.

Sadly – despite being an excellent officer – “B” had been passed over for promotion – so – in naval parlance – “B” was a ‘superseded’ officer.

“B” had come on Temporary Duty for a ‘conference’.

“B” was waiting as there was some problem in allocation of a cabin for him.

He told me that another officer “A” (who had come with him from Vizag) was trying to sort out the issue.

“A” was around 5 years junior to “B”.

In fact “A” had been a student of “B” during specialization courses where “B”had been A’s instructor.

Later – “A” had worked under “B” both ashore and afloat – where “B” has been A’sdirect boss.

“A” had the highest respect for “B” who had taught him and also been an excellent boss who had guided him in the early days of his naval career.

Now – the tables were turned – and “A” outranked “B” – since “A” had been recently promoted to the rank of Captain – whereas “B” remained a Commander – having been permanently superseded.

Now – since everything is ‘rank based’ in the navy – the ‘powers-that-be’ had decreed that ‘Captains and above’ were to be given Air-conditioned Cabins in the main block of the mess – and ‘Commanders and below’ were to be accommodated in the shabby cabins in the annexe.

“A” tried his best to convince the Mess Secretary – “A” told the Mess Secretary that“B” was much senior in service – “A” even volunteered to swap cabins with “B” – but the Mess Secretary would not budge – and he said to “A”: “Rules are rules – as far as I am concerned – “B” is just a Commander and he will be allotted a cabin in the annexe. It is not my fault that he got superseded – in any case – why have you brought a ‘written off’ officer for this important conference…?”

So – “A” enjoyed the cool comforts of a luxury air-conditioned cabin – whereas “B”sweated it out in a dilapidated cabin – and to add insult to injury – “B” was doubled up with another officer.

“B” had been specifically called to the conference because he was an expert on the issue being discussed – but I noticed that “B” had ‘switched-off’ – he maintained an indifferent silence and did not contribute anything.

It was evident that supersession had affected “B” very badly and his personality had been transformed.

Like many passed over “written off” officers – “B” had lost his ‘spark’ and withdrawn into a shell and become disinterested in the service.

It was sad to see an excellent officer like “B” wither away.

But it was even sadder that the Navy could not benefit from his expertise and experiential knowledge, which were being wasted away.

In the Defence Services – Supersession is a “lose-lose” situation.

Besides career and financial loss – supersession is total “loss of face” for the officer – and at times for his family too.

In contrast – promotion is a “win-win” situation – since rank is the “be-all and end-all” of military life.


The large number of representations, complaints, court cases and litigation pertaining to promotion issues bears testimony to the fact that something is immensely wrong with the military promotion system prevalent in the defence services.

I heard from someone – that the “integrated running pay scale” granted by the 4th Pay Commission, which de-linked pay from rank, was scuttled by senior officers, who did not want superseded officers who had more service than them to draw more pay than them.

The result was that more than 90% of the officers lost out when the 5th Pay Commission scrapped the “running pay band” and once again linked salary to rank.

Someone told me an interesting story of the height of megalomania and egotism due to rank consciousness.

A few years ago – the government implemented Assured Career Progression (ACP) and Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) for all Civilian Government Employees.

The person told me that government wanted to extend the benefit of Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) to the Defence Services and, like the civil services (NFU) would have guaranteed time bound upgradation of pay of all officers (including superseded officers) so that towards the end of their service, at the time of superannuation, all officers would draw the pay of a Lieutenant General (and consequently their pensions would be higher too – like their civilian counterparts).

I heard that this NFU proposal was opposed and scuttled by senior officers who argued that NFU was not desirable since the “charm” of higher ranks would be diminished if there was no substantial salary differential.

After all – these overweening careerists felt that they had “earned” their ranks by “all round 360 degree efforts” and considered themselves superior to their unlucky comrades in arms who had been “passed over” for promotion.

Of course – those who have served in the defence services are aware of the various tactics and stratagems employed by careerist officers to get promoted to high rank.

A witty Naval Officer gave a metaphorical example of a Mumbai suburban local train at rush hour on a station like Dadar.

Those standing on the platform desperately wanted to get inside the train.

But once inside the train – they tried to prevent others from entering the train.

It is the same with these overweening careerists – they are desperate to get promoted – but once they are promoted to high rank – they don’t want their juniors to “get in”.

Here is an example.

In 2006 – as per AVS Cadre Review – all Lieutenant Colonel/Equivalents who had completed 26 years service were to be promoted to the rank of Colonel/Equivalent.

The Army and Air Force promoted all officers who had completed 26 years service (including Time Scale Lieutenant Colonel/Wing Commander) to the rank of Colonel/Group Captain.

However, the Navy did not promote Time Scale Commanders who had completed 26 years service to the rank of Captain giving the specious argument that this would “upset” inter-se seniority.

One wonders why the same argument was not used by the Army and Air Force?

Whereas, in the civilian world, organizations are becoming flatter and democratic – the opposite is happening in the Indian Armed Forces which are becoming increasingly feudal and hierarchy conscious – rank based discrimination is being taken to ridiculous limits – and megalomania and egotism due to rank consciousness is on the rise – which is visible in examples like the penchant for displaying “stars” at all sorts of places.

This obsession with rank continues even after retirement.

After having sabotaged NFU – now senior officers want “One Rank One Pension” (OROP).

So – now – they even want pension to be primarily dependent on rank – and not based on length of service, like it is for civilian employees.

In the term OROP – “One Rank One Pension” – the most prominent word isRANK.

Why not “Same Service Same Pension”?

Why the total emphasis on “Rank”?


In the defence services – whereas on the one hand – supersession is a total “lose-lose” situation – on the other hand – promotion is a total “win-win” situation.

Doesn’t this convince you that the advice given to us by that pragmatic officer was absolutely correct: “The primary aim of an officer is to get promoted to high rank”– and all other “dictums” and “Honour Codes” like “Chetwode Motto” and “Service Before Self” etc are mere slogans meant for lip-service.

As I told you – this wise officer was not a hypocrite – he “walked his talk” – unlike many other senior officers – who mouth platitudes about “military ethos and service values” before their juniors – but do exactly the opposite in their actions in order to achieve their overweening career ambitions.

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

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
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Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/09/2015 10:07:00 PM

How to Solve OROP Problem – Integrated Pay Scale will eliminate need for One Rank One Pension

April 29, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: OROP IMBROGLIO – Simple Solution – HOW TO MAKE THE “OROP” PROBLEM DISAPPEAR.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

OROP IMBROGLIO – Simple Solution

Ramblings of a Military Veteran

In the Armed Forces – pay has traditionally been linked to rank.

In the 1980’s – the Armed Forces appreciated that it was not practicable to enhance the percentage of higher ranks given the steep pyramid hierarchy required for command and control in the Defence Services.

This meant that very few could be promoted to higher ranks – and most officers would be “passed over” and superseded for promotion and would retire at lower ranks (and at a younger age too).

Supersession is a fact of life in the Armed Forces.

And – since pay and pension was linked to rank – most officers are at a great monetary disadvantage for no fault of theirs.

In order to mitigate this – the 4th Pay Commission introduced the “Integrated Pay Scale” upto the Rank of Brigadier (Running Pay Band from 2nd/Lt to Brigadier: 2300 – 100 – 5100).

This “integrated pay scale” (or “running pay band”) worked well to give equitable pay to superseded officers and, to a certain extent, it helped mitigate the loss of morale due to supersession.

It is understood that the Defence Services had proposed to extend this “integrated pay scale” concept to all ranks right upto the top ranks of General/Admiral/Air Chief Marshal.

However, going by some specious logic, the 5th Pay Commission abolished this “running pay band” concept altogether – and we were back to square one where your rank determined your pay.

While abolishing this excellent “integrated pay scale” concept – the Pay Commission rubbed salt in the wounds of superseded officers by not giving Armed Forces the benefits of the Assured Career Progression (ACP) and Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU/NFFU) which were enjoyed by the civil services.

Since pension is based on “last pay drawn” – the problem of OROP will disappear of the concept of “integrated pay scale” is re-introduced for the Armed Forces.

The “integrated pay scale” can be applied with retrospective effect.

As per the “running pay band” – your Retirement Pay will be determined by your total years of service – which in turn will determine your pension.

This is a fair, ethical and equitable concept – rather than linking pension to rank alone.

“One Rank One Pension” (OROP) concept is unfair – since it links Pension to Rank.

OROP will mainly benefit High Ranking Officers.

Should “length of service” not be given more importance than rank while computing pension?

Who deserves more pension:– 

A Colonel with 35 years of service – or a Brigadier with 25 years of service…?

After retirement – financial needs are the same for military veterans.

It is logical, equitable and ethical to give pay and pension based on the years of active service rendered in the armed forces.

If the “integrated pay scale” concept of 4th Pay Commission is implemented by 7th Pay Commission for the Armed Forces – and given retrospective effect for the purpose of computing pension – then the OROP issue will automatically be solved – and also – it will be fair and equitable to all retired military veterans including superseded officers.

So – the simplest solution and panacea for the OROP imbroglio is to re-introduce the “integrated pay scale” concept of 4th Pay Commission.

If government wants the OROP problem to disappear – then all the government has to do is to re-introduce the “running pay band” concept of 4th Pay Commission for the Armed Forces in the 7th Pay Commission and give retrospective effect for the purpose of computing pension of defence personnel and military veterans.

Do you agree?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Posted by Vikram Karve at 4/29/2015 10:26:00 AM

“SUNDAY ROUTINE” – LEISURE MANAGEMENT NAVY STYLE – “SUNDAY ROUTINE” – Unforgettable Memories of My Wonderful Life in the Navy

April 26, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: LEISURE MANAGEMENT NAVY STYLE – “SUNDAY ROUTINE” – A “Memoir”.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Unforgettable Memories of My Wonderful Life in the Navy

A Memoir

Today is Sunday.

Out here – in Pune – it is a bright Sunday Morning – and it is already getting hot – since we are in the midst of a blistering summer.

Sitting indoors on this sweltering hot Sunday Morning makes me hark back to my halcyon Navy Days – and remember my “Sunday Routines” in the Navy.

Once you retire – every day is a “Sunday Routine”.

But when we were in the Navy – and our ship was tied alongside in harbour – we looked forward to our Sundays – to enjoy what the Navy calls “Sunday Routine” – our well deserved leisure time.

Let me tell you about a few of my typical “Sunday Routines”.

In the Navy – when you are at sea – you are on duty round-the-clock 24/7 – and there is no “holiday” – so there is no “Sunday Routine” in the true sense.

But when your ship is in harbour – you have “make-and-mend” (half day) on Wednesdays and Saturdays – and a “Sunday Routine” on Sundays and Holidays.

Unlike the corporate sector and government civilian babus – an operational organisation like the navy does not have the luxury of a “5 Day Week” – so we worked 6 days a week – and a weekly “off” only on Sundays – unless you were the “Officer of the Day” (OOD) – or you were put on some other “bum job” duty.

So – we eagerly waited for Sunday – and coveted our “Sunday Routine”.

“Sunday Routine” was our own personal time which we could spend as we liked – and we could do as we pleased.

Aristotle has wisely said: “The end of labour is to gain leisure”

We laboured the whole week to gain our “Sunday Routine” – and we were determined to enjoy our well earned leisure to the fullest.

Different individuals spend their leisure in different ways.

How you spend your leisure defines your persona.

There is a saying that if you want to find out the true character of a man – find out how he spends his leisure.

In the defence services – especially in the navy – how you spend your leisure mainly depends on where you are posted.

If you are lucky to be posted in a “maximum city” like Mumbai – there is a plethora of opportunities for enjoying your leisure.

On the other hand – if you are posted to a back-of-beyond remote desolate cantonment – your choices for spending your leisure are limited.

Let me describe to you – to compare and contrast – two typical Navy Style “Sunday Routines” – one in Mumbai – and one in Vizag – almost 10 years apart – both when I was posted on frontline warships – the first in the latter half of the 1970’s – and the second in the latter half of the 1980’s.

INS “XXX” (Harbour Sunday Routine – as an “in-living” officer)
[At Mumbai (then called Bombay) – end 1970’s]

This was the happiest time of my life.

It is great to be on a happy ship.

Ours was a frontline warship – the ship was new – the crew was good – we had a delightful wardroom with friendly officers – and the general atmosphere on the ship was harmonious.

The main reason for the ship being a “Happy Ship” was our Captain – who was a great guy. 

His credo was simple – all he demanded is that we do our jobs properly – and once we did that – we were free to do whatever we pleased.

(I have observed during my long service in the Navy – and in inter-service establishments – that – particularly in the defence services – much depends on the Commanding Officer (CO) – for creating a harmonious the atmosphere in a ship/unit – and a painful “killjoy” CO can make life miserable for all – like we saw on some other ships)

On a Sunday we woke up early.

(If you remember – I told you in an earlier article that I never had late nights on Saturdays – and I preferred to have my hangovers on working days).

Early in the morning – we crossed the gangway and went ashore.

Then we embarked on a long Sunday morning walk cum jog – walking out of Lion Gate, past Kalaghoda, crossing the Oval, past CCI, then onto Marine Drive to jog to Chowpatty – and back to Churchgate – where we picked up a copy of the Cole (for the day’s races) – followed by “chota hazri” at Stadium Restaurant.

Later – in the wardroom – we had a leisurely Sunday breakfast on board ship – of dosas and coffee – while “studying” the Cole – and the racing columns in the newspapers.

Ours was a wardroom of “punters”.

At around 10 or 10:30 we were off again – walking down to our favourite Stadium Restaurant Churchgate – for a brunch of sumptuous “Kheema Pav” followed by a cup of invigorating Irani Chai – while discussing our “forecasts” and “predictions” for the day’s races.

Then we caught a western railway local train to Mahalaxmi racecourse – so that we were well in time for the first race of the day – which began at noon – or sometimes a bit later at 12:30 or 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

(We took the precaution of buying a “return ticket” – for obvious reasons)

I loved going to the races. 

The atmosphere was electric – the bookie ring – the tote – the stands – the racecourse – the crowds – the excitement – the thrill – the horses – and – not to forget – the beautiful lady punters in their Sunday best – it was a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

In the evening – after a refreshing shower – and fortified with a generous quantity of Scotch and Soda – our hip flasks topped-up – we headed out again – for dinner and a late night movie – followed by midnight ice creams or milkshakes.

The restaurant where we went for dinner depended on our luck at the races – either Olympia or Bade Miyan (on a luckless day) – or Gaylord or Kamling (on a lucky day).

Even during the off-season – when there were no races – there was so much to do on a Sunday in a “maximum city” like Mumbai.

Like I said – those were the happiest days of my life – and my most enjoyable “Sunday Routines” too.

I thought these happy days would never end – but two years later – I was yanked off the ship, and posted to Jamnagar (as an instructor) – and it was still a big culture shock for me after my wonderful days in Mumbai.

I was familiar with the dreary place as a “student officer” – but it was a big disappointment – especially after my glorious days in Mumbai.

I suffered and endured almost one year in that horrible desolate place – almost becoming alcohol dependent – since the main leisure activity there was drinking Rum (while listening to old Hindi Songs on Urdu Service).

I escaped becoming an woebegone alcoholic by getting “selected” for the “prestigious” M. Tech. Course at IIT Delhi.

After two years of “paid holiday” – followed by two years in R&D – and then two more years on instructional duties at IAT Pune – and I was back on a frontline warship in Mumbai.

“Bombay days were back again” 

(Yes – Mumbai was still called Bombay in the late 1980s).

It was back to halcyon “Sunday Routine” days – I lived at Vasant Sagar in Churchgate – and for the first few months we had a great life.

As I was living it up – chanting “Happy Days are here again” – our luck ran out – and the base port of our ship was changed from Mumbai to Vizag (Visakhapatnam) – and we were off to the Eastern Seaboard.

I had been to Vizag only once on my earlier ship – but I did not see much of the Naval Base – since our ship was berthed on the iron ore jetty in the port trust – and we were in Vizag just for a day or so – and we spent our liberty hours ashore in the town.

But it seemed that – as far as Vizag town was concerned – nothing much had changed in the last 10 years.

As compared to Mumbai – Navy life Vizag was a big comedown – as you will realize – when you see how I spent my “Sunday Routine” at Vizag (Visakhapatnam)

INS “YYY” (Harbour Sunday Routine – as an “MLR” officer)
[Vizag (Visakhapatnam) – end 1980’s]

I was now married (MLR or “Money in Lieu of Ration” in Naval Jargon) – and I was living with my family in Naval Park Vizag.

Sunrise is early on the eastern seaboard – so I would get up at 5:30 on Sunday morning – and I would head for my Sunday morning super-long walk – up Dolphin’s Nose – down to Continental Beach – and then head back straight to the “Sunday Market” in the HSL complex near Scindia – and reach there by 7 – just as the market (haat) was opening up.

The entire naval community would be there at the “Sunday Market” – mostly ladies whose husbands are sleeping off their hangover – and some early riser husbands like me.

In Vizag – this Sunday Morning Market was a “must visit” since you lived far away from town in Naval Park – to pick up your weekly stock of vegetables, fruit and fish.

At around 8 – I returned home – I had a bath – we breakfasted on the idlis I had brought from the Sunday market – and at 9 o’clock – we all settled down before the TV set to watch the epic serial Ramayan.

(Later – when Ramayan was over – we would watch Mahabharat from 9 to 10 every Sunday morning).

Then we (self, wife and son) headed to the swimming pool – and spent an hour swimming and cooling off – and chitchatting with friends.

At 12 noon we were sitting in the makeshift club located in the parking lot of the officers’ mess for the Sunday afternoon Beer Biryani Tombola.

(Yes – in Vizag it was the rather prosaic and boring Tombola at the Navy Club – in lieu of thrilling and exciting Horse Racing at the Mahalaxmi Race Course which we enjoyed in Mumbai)

Then – I headed back home for a “beer and biryani induced siesta” –  which made me feel groggy.

In the evening – maybe we headed for town – full family of 3 on my Bajaj scooter – mostly accompanied by friends – and walked around Ramakrishna Beach – or maybe saw a movie at Jagdamba – followed by dinner at Daspalla.

Then we headed back home – and hit the sack.

Vizag was a big comedown from the glorious “Sunday Routines” of Mumbai.

One thing good in the Navy is that nothing is permanent.

So – 10 years later – in the year 2000 – I was back in Mumbai – and I enjoyed my “Sunday Routines” even better than before – since the Navy gave me a lovely house in Empress Court, opposite the Oval, in Churchgate.

What better location can you ask for in Mumbai – especially to enjoy your leisure? 


My best and most enjoyable “Sunday Routines” were in Mumbai (Bombay) and Delhi.

And the most lackluster and dreary Sunday Routines were in Jamnagar – arguably the worst place to be posted to – during my younger days in the Navy.

The Sunday Routines in places like Vizag, Kochi (Cochin) and Pune were somewhere middle-of-the-road – as I have described above.

In IAT Pune – on Sundays – we could go trekking up to Sinhagad or in the hills of Girinagar – or we would head for Pune City – to spend the day with our parents/relatives (Pune is my hometown).

How about you? 

How do you like to enjoy your Sundays?

And especially if you are a “fauji” – do tell us how you enjoyed your “Sunday Routines” in the “fauj” – in the army, the navy or the air force.

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.

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)

This is a revised version of my article earlier posted online by me Vikram Karvein my academic and creative writing journal blog at 7/08/2014 11:30:00 PMat url:…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 4/26/2015 10:06:00 AM



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