Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The “Scholar Warrior”

Humor in Uniform 

From time to time – I receive invitations from my esrtwhile “alma mater” IAT Girinagar Pune (now called DIAT/MILIT) for delivering a “Guest Lecture”. 

I received one a few days ago – to deliver a lecture in January 2018 – and – I am looking forward to visiting this wonderful place and interacting with young defence officers and scientists. 

This reminded me of a discussion we had during my previous visit this year. 

At the customary post-lecture “PLD” – someone speculated that soon – this institution (IAT/DIAT/MILIT) may be affiliated to the new INDU (Indian Defence University) – which was being planned to be established in the near future.

I asked: 

“Is INDU being located in this excellent campus at Girinagar…?”

“Not likely…” someone said, “like everything which is “Delhi-Centric” – they will locate it somewhere near Delhi/NCR – so that it is convenient for retired senior officers and civilian bureaucrats…”

“Looks like it will be more of a “resettlement” facility for senior officers rather than an institution of learning…” someone quipped.

“No wonder many senior officers are rushing to get Ph.D. – so that they can settle down as faculty in INDU…” another joked.

I felt amused  but  I also felt sad.

Once upon a time – IAT was a true “centre of excellence”.

In earlier days – IAT was affiliated to the University of Poona/Pune (UoP) – which has been renamed as Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).

UoP/SPPU was  and still is  a prestigious university.  

Everything was fine. 

But – due to the proclivity to “fix” things that aren’t “broken” – the “powers-that-be” decided to convert IAT into a Deemed University. 

So – IAT became DIAT Deemed University.

The earlier acronym IAT stood for Institute of Armament Technology.

DIAT stood for Defence Institute of Advanced Technology.

Ironically – IAT was more “Defence” in Culture – and more “Advanced” in Technology – than DIAT.

Later – DIAT was split into two parts – and half of the institution became MILIT (Military Institute of Technology).

“Why was DIAT split…?” I asked.

“Well – this institution was split up mainly due to “Personality Clashes” “Ego Battles” and “Turf Wars”…” said a “clued-up” veteran.  

“This is a case study on how to convert a “centre of excellence” into a “centre of mediocrity”…” someone else quipped.

After lunch – while driving through the beautiful campus below Sinhagad Fort in the verdant green hills of Girinagar overlooking the cool blue Khadakvasla Lake – I reminisced about my wonderful IAT days.

And suddenly – I was reminded of the story of the “Scholar Warrior” aka “Warrior Scholar”…

Dear Reader: Here is the story… 

“SCHOLAR WARRIOR” 
An Unforgettable Character I Met – In and Out of Uniform
A Fictional Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

PROLOGUE

In the Academia – I have seen self-styled “Scholars”

In the Military – I have seen self-styled “Warriors”

And – among Military Veterans – I have seen self-styled “Scholar Warriors”

Let me tell you the story of one such “Scholar Warrior”

Well – actually – it will be more apt to call him a “Warrior Scholar” – since – at first – he was a “Warrior” – and he turned into “Scholar” much later – a ‘warrior-turned-scholar’ to be precise.

But – if you want me to put it bluntly – like most “Scholar Warriors” you see proliferating like hobgoblins and pontificating on TV debates – it would be more accurate to describe him as a “pseudo- warrior” turned “pseudo-scholar” – because – neither had he fought a war – nor had he achieved any earth-shaking scholarly accomplishments.

Let’s skip the semantics and the gobbledygook – we will call him a “Scholar Warrior” – and get on with the story.


THE STORY OF THE “SCHOLAR WARRIOR” – A Spoof by Vikram Karve


Circa 1992 – The “Warrior”

“Sir – you teach very ‘high-funda’ stuff…” the Major said, sidling up to me in the bar.

“Well – military technology is getting high-tech…” I said.

“Sir – that may be for others – but Sir – please but have mercy on me – I am a simple ‘Cavalry’ officer…” he pleaded.

“Cavalry…? Don’t tell me they are sending officers from one of those ceremonial horse regiments for this ‘Technical Staff Course’…” I said.

“No Sir – my ‘cavalry’ regiment has got tanks – but I am a ‘pure warrior’…”

“Ha Ha – ‘Pure Warrior’ – what do you mean by that…?”

“Sir – I am not interested in learning…”

“You are not interested in learning…? Then why have you come for this course…?”

“Sir – this course is good for my career – it is a ‘criteria’ course for promotion and getting good appointments…”

“Oh – so you want to qualify the course without studying….?”

“Exactly, Sir – you have really understood my problem…”

“So what do you want me to do…? I certainly cannot lower the standard of training or evaluation…”

“No Sir – please maintain your standard – many others are keen on learning – but I want to qualify with the ‘bare minimum’ effort…”

“Ha Ha – ‘bare minimum effort’…” I laughed, “Do you know – we have an expression in the Navy – “bare minimum inescapable requirement’…”

“Yes, Sir – you have put it in a nutshell – ‘bare minimum inescapable requirement’…” the Major said.

The ‘Pure Warrior’ qualified the course with the ‘bare minimum inescapable requirement’…


Circa 2002 – The “Scholar”

“Hello, Sir – what a pleasant surprise to see you here…”

I recognized him at once – he was the same ‘Pure Warrior’ – who had been my ‘student’ around 10 years ago.

“Well – I am even more surprised to see you here – on the University Campus…” I said.

“Sir – I am on study leave…”

“What…? You…? You have taken ‘study leave’…? Don’t tell me that you have suddenly developed an interest in ‘learning’…?”

“No Sir – I am least interested in studying – but I was forced to take ‘study leave’…”

“You were forced to take ‘study leave’ – that is amazing – in the Navy it is almost impossible to get ‘study leave’ due to the perpetual shortage of officers – isn’t there a shortage of officers in the Army…?”

“Sir – there is a shortage of junior officers – but there is a surplus of Colonels…”

“Really…? But how can you be forced to take ‘study leave’…?”

“Not really forced at gunpoint, Sir – but I was ‘persuaded’ to volunteer. One day my Boss called me – and he told me to apply for ‘study leave’. When I expressed my reluctance – my Boss counselled me – and – he said to me:

‘See – you have finished your command tenure – and you still have two years to go – before your next promotion board. 

I have found out that – till now – your ACRs are good – so – if you take ‘study leave’ – then – your ACR average points will remain the same – since there will be no ACRs rendered during your ‘study leave’ – so you are likely to be promoted. 

But – if you are adamant – and you refuse to apply for ‘study leave’ – then you may land up getting superseded. 

Try to understand the situation – since there are surplus Colonels – they may post you anywhere – in some insignificant appointment – under some guy who does not like ‘Cavalry’ Officers – and you may be ‘written off’ – and – that will be the end of your career. 

So – for your own good – it is best for you to go on ‘study leave’. 

Why don’t you select a course in Pune for your ‘study leave’ – so that you can enjoy a two years paid holiday in your hometown…’

So – I chose this easy course – where I would have to study the least…”

“Bare Minimum Inescapable Requirement…?” I joked.

“Yes, Sir…” he laughed.


Circa 2012 – The “Scholar Warrior”

A few years after I had retired – I was invited to attend a Seminar.

There – I was stunned to see my old friend – my ex-student – the “pure warrior” – who I had taught 20 years ago – and who I had later met 10 years ago when he was a “scholar” – when he was on ‘study leave’ in the University. 

He seemed delighted to meet me.

“Hello, Sir – I am so happy to see you here. Sir – it is great honour for me to speak before my ‘Guru’…” he said.

“You are speaking at this seminar…?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, Sir – I am the 3rd speaker, Sir…” he said – and he handed me a copy of the seminar programme he was carrying in his hand.

“That’s fantastic – it seems the ‘study leave’ has turned you into a ‘scholar’…” I said.

“Not at all, Sir – I joined back after my ‘study leave’ – but – sadly – I was ‘passed over’ for promotion – so I quit the army – and I was looking for a job in the civilian world – when my I met a Professor who had taught me during ‘study leave’ – he suggested that I do my Ph.D. – and join the ‘Academia’ – where I could enjoy a cool life – and could keep ‘working’ till 65 – or even 70…”

“Ph.D…? Don’t tell me you are doing your Ph.D. …?” I said, taken aback.

“Sir – in fact – I have just completed my Ph.D. a few days ago…” he said.

He handed me his visiting card.

I read his visiting card.

He had written his name as: Col (Dr) ***** (Retd)

He had become a “Scholar Warrior”…


EPILOGUE

I laughed to myself at the quirk of fate.

My reluctant student had become a “Scholar Warrior”...

And me...?

Well – I have been reduced to being a “Keyboard Warrior”…

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)  

This is a re-post of my story THE SCHOLAR WARRIOR written by me more than two years ago in the year 2015 and posted by me online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 31 August 2015 at urlshttp://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/humor-in-uniform-scholar-warrior.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/humor-in-uniform-scholar-warrior.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/01/humor-in-uniform-scholar-warrior-aka.html etc

Saturday, November 18, 2017

How to be Happy – The Happiness Equation

HOW TO BE HAPPY

THE HAPPINESS EQUATION
Self Help Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Happiness may be expressed as degree to which you can fulfill your desires.

In a nutshell:

Happiness is the ratio of Desires Fulfilled/Total Number of Desires

Have a look at the “Happiness Equation” below: 


                            Number of Desires Fulfilled
Happiness  =   --------------------------------------
                             Total Number of Desires


We can increase our happiness by either:

1. Increasing the Numerator (Fulfilling Your Existing Desires)

Or

2. Decreasing the Denominator (Decreasing the Desires in Your Mind)

The second option is easier.

How do you achieve this...? 

How do you decrease your desires...?

It is simple.

Here is a “self help” article I wrote a few years ago on “Desire Management”

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR DESIRES
Philosophical Musings 
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DESIRES and HAPPINESS

Over the years I have realized that the Two Main Reasons for Unhappiness are:

1. Dissatisfaction caused by unfulfilled desires

and

2. Anxiety that you will not be able to fulfill your desires in the future


There is a close connection between happiness and desire-satisfaction

When you get what you want you feel happy and when you do not get what you want you feel unhappy.

Happiness results from getting what you want  (desire-satisfaction)

and 

Unhappiness results from not getting what you want  (desire-frustration)


Therefore, there are two strategies you can pursue with respect to any given desire:

1. You can either strive to fulfill the desire

or

2. You can try to eliminate the desire


No philosopher has better explored this than Epicurus, a Greek Philosopher of the Third Century BC. 

Epicurus (341-270 BC) espoused a strategy for achieving genuine human happiness by:

Emphasizing on the delights of the mind (over which you have control)

and

De-emphasizing the delights derived from material things (which are beyond your personal control).

This desire management strategy will help you scale down your desires to the basic minimum which can easily be satisfied. 

Yes, you follow this this two phase desire management strategy:

1. Firstly, you scale down your desires to those desires which are feasible for you to fulfill

after doing that:

2. You satisfy those desires. 


This will make you happy since fulfilling a desire creates happiness.


TYPES OF DESIRES

Epicurus distinguishes between 3 types of desires:

1.      Natural and Necessary Desires

2.      Unnatural and Unnecessary (or Vain and Empty) Desires

3.      Natural but Non-necessary Desires


HOW TO DEAL WITH THE THREE TYPES OF DESIRES

Our tendency to happiness (or unhappiness) depends on how we tackle each of these three types of desires.


1. NATURAL and NECESSARY DESIRES

Examples of natural and necessary desires include the desires for food, shelter, health, sense of security and basic physical needs, cravings which will necessarily lead to greater pain if they are not fulfilled.
These basic desires are easy to satisfy yet difficult to eliminate since they are hard-wired into human beings naturally and create a sense of well-being when satisfied (eg. “Happiness begins at the stomach” 
Furthermore, natural and necessary desires are necessary for life, and these desires are naturally limited: that is, if one is hungry, it only takes a limited amount of food to fill the stomach, after which the desire is satisfied.
Epicurus says that you should try to satisfy natural and necessary desires.

2. VAIN and EMPTY DESIRES – UNNATURAL and UNNECESSARY DESIRES

Vain, unnatural and unnecessary desires include desires for excessive powerwealthfame, and other egoistic ambitions which have all the trappings of status and prestige.

Vain desires are difficult to satisfy, in part because they have no natural limit

If one desires wealth or power, no matter how much one gets, it is always possible to get more, and the more one gets, the more one wants.

These desires are not natural to human beings, but inculcated by society and by false beliefs about what we need.

For example, we falsely believe that being very powerful or wealthy or famous will guarantee us happiness

In actual fact, Opulence may attract thieves and other dangers, and Power and Fame may attract sycophants. 

Yes, such vain desires, which are unnatural and unnecessary, are sure to put you into the spiral of unhappiness.

Epicurus says that such vain and empty desires should be eliminated.


3. NATURAL but NON-NECESSARY DESIRES

An example of a natural but non-necessary desire is the desire for luxury food. 

Although food is needed for survival, one does not need rich expensive gourmet food to survive. 

Thus, despite his hedonism, Epicurus advocates a surprisingly ascetic way of life. 

Although you should not spurn extravagant foods if they happen to be available, becoming dependent on such luxury food (and other luxuries) ultimately leads to unhappiness.

These natural but non-necessary desires are those cravings that are not necessary for life, but give you great happiness

However, should you become dependent on them, such desires can lead to great unhappiness if they are not fulfilled. 

Natural but non-necessary desires are typically recreational in nature and examples of such desires include Sexual Gratification, Friendship, Aesthetic Desires, Entertainment, Social Intercourse, Creative Expression and Intellectual Stimulation, Liberal Arts, Reading, Social Networking, Sports, Travel etc

In the case of natural but non-necessary desires you must approach life like a banquet

Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously.

When a dish is passed to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion.

If a dish should pass you by then enjoy what is already on your plate.
 
And if a dish has not been passed to you yet you must patiently wait for your turn.

In the same way as described above, you must treat your desires in the same way as you deal with food in a sit down dinner banquet.


CONCLUSION

To paraphrase Epicurus:

If you wish to make a man truly Happy

DO NOT GIVE HIM MORE MONEY

rather

If you really want to make a man Happy

TRY TO TEACH HIM HOW TO REDUCE HIS DESIRES


The Epicurean Philosophy of Life recommends that you must strive to do two things:

1. Eliminate the unhappiness caused by unfulfilled desires

and 

2. Reduce the anxiety that occurs because of the fear that your desires will not be fulfilled in the future

Adopting this wise Epicurean philosophy of life will enable you to attain tranquility and enjoy everlasting happiness.

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 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.