Friday, January 19, 2018

Ro Ro Ships

https://www.marineinsight.com/marine-safety/8-reasons-that-make-ro-ro-ship-unsafe-to-work-on/amp/

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Re-Building “Bridges” with Navy Veterans – Navy Foundation Pune – “Alumni Association” for Navy Veterans in Pune

This Sunday (21 January 2018) – we have a Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC) Meet at Peacock Bay hosted by the Naval Officers of NDA in the beautiful environs of the Naval Training Team “Wardroom” on the banks the picturesque Khadakwasla Lake. 

We have NFPC meets once in 3 months  every quarter – and normally – the Winter Meet is held at Peacock Bay – the post-monsoon meet is held at in the verdant environment of INS Shivaji Lonavala (a stone frigate – the premier technical training establishment of the Navy) – and – the other two meets are held at convenient locations in Pune. 

Dear Reader: This prompts me to tell you a bit about the Navy Foundation – so – let me update an article I had written a few years ago and post it for you to read...

RETIREMENT BLUES 
Re-Building “Bridges” with the Navy
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Before retirement – when I was in the Navy – there was no dearth of friends. 

After retirement – I have zero friends.

I am talking of offline friends.

Yes – I do have a large number of online friends – and – even my erstwhile Navy Friends have now become online friends. 

In Pune – all my Navy Friends – after retirement – live in remote Military Veteran ghettos” (so-called “exlusive” residential projects for retired defence personnel) – and – these elite ghettos” are located in the suburbs of Pune  on the opposite side of town from where I live – and – in view of the terrible Pune traffic – I don’t have the energy to drive 30 kms across town and back – except on special occasions.

And – one such special occasion is the Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC) Meet  which is held once in 3 months.

I make sure I attend all NFPC Meets – of course – to meet my Navy Buddies – and also – to enjoy the stimulating PLD followed delicious lunch. 

Now – I look forward to the meet on Sunday at Peacock Bay on the banks of Khadakwasla Lake near Pune.

Meanwhile – here is a piece I wrote on the Navy Foundation a few years ago.

NAVY FOUNDATION PUNE 
The “Alumni Association” for Navy Veterans in Pune
By
VIKRAM KARVE

If you are a Naval Officer  after retirement  it is best to settle down in Mumbai  which is the premier Navy Station  or  in a coastal city like Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa etc where there is a Naval presence  or  even in Delhi/NCR – where the mighty “Northern Naval Command” is located.

This is because if you settle down in a landlocked place like Pune after you retire from the Navy  you tend to “burn your bridges” with your erstwhile service.

The only redeeming grace is the Indian Navy Foundation – a purely social organization set up to facilitate fraternal relations between retired naval officers.

Luckily  the Navy Foundation has a “chapter” (aka “charter”) at Pune 

Membership is voluntary – and I am glad I became a member, because the quarterly Navy Foundation Pune Chapter (NFPC) meetings are the best occasions for meeting and renewing bonds with my former navy buddies.

Whenever I go for these NFPC get-togethers I feel something like a  “Yossarian”  of  Catch-22 who is one of the most frequent visitors to the officers’ club that he had not help build.

I am sure you have read Catch-22.

Let me “jog” your memory about this hilarious yet insightful episode about Yossarian and the Officers Club in Pianosa.

In something akin to “Shramdan”  officers are encouraged to build their own clubs. 

(If you have served in the Military – you would be familiar with “Shramdan”)

However  Yossarian, who is proud of his ability to avoid work, contributes nothing to help build the club – he does not go for even a single day to work on building the officers club.

But once the officers’ club is ready, Yossarian visits the club almost every day and makes maximum use of the facilities, which he had not helped build.

Let me quote a paragraph from Catch-22 which encapsulates this sentiment (emphasis mine):

“Actually there were many officers’ clubs that Yossarian had not helped build  but he was proudest of the one on Pianosa

It was a sturdy and complex monument to his powers of determination. 

Yossarian never went there to help until it was finished  then he went there often  so pleased was he with the large, fine, rambling shingled building. 

It was a truly splendid building  and  Yossarian throbbed with a mighty sense of accomplishment each time he gazed at it – and reflected that  none of the work that had gone into it was his...”

For me – like Yossarian  it is a similar equation with the NFPC – effort-wise  I contribute nothing  but I participate in all get-togethers most enthusiastically.

We had two excellent NFPC get-togethers in Lonavala – wonderful days – like picnics – a nostalgic walk down memory lane for many navy veterans who reminisced about their halcyon training days at this picturesque location. 

We also had a memorable meet at Peacock Bay on the shores of Khadakvasla Lake near the National Defence Academy (NDA) – hosted by Commandant NDA. 

On 29 Jan 2017 – we had another meet at the same picturesque venue and the hospitality, entertainment and food surpassed the previous meet. 

At all these meets – the distinctive Naval efficiency, superlative hospitality and caring courtesy shown to us during the visit demonstrated how much young naval officers and sailors genuinely care for its veterans.

When I was in service  I remember us hosting a get-together of Navy Foundation at IAT Pune at the Naval Jetty (Sailing Club) on the banls of Khadakwasla Lake  sometime in the 1990’s.

In Pune – the favourite venue for NFPC Meets is Atlantis

Sadly – there is no Navy Wardroom (Officers Mess) or Navy Institute/Club in Pune.

And  in the past  officer-bearers of NFPC have had harrowing experiences running from pillar to post trying to negotiate the red tape while dealing with the Army to get other Military Venues for NFPC Meets.

So  thanks to “jointmanship” demonstrated by the “pongos”  the officebearers found it more convenient to organise Navy Foundation Meetings in Pune at ATLANTIS  which is conveniently located  and much more flexible to deal with  with zero red tape  and better off in all respects  especially food-wise and ambience-wise. 

Of course – some officers of the old-mould” insisted that the meets be held in a Service Mess – so – a meet was held in the Army Sub Area Officers Mess – but – the ambience and food was not as good as Atlantis.

The best thing about these Navy Veteran Meets is the egalitarian atmosphere  with a total absence of the rank consciousness one sees while in service  since  after retirement  all veterans are civilians  equal in status  and now  instead of rank  it is age that is respected.

As I said earlier  after retirement  our only connection with the Navy is the Navy Foundation  and Navy Veterans look forward to NFPC meetings where you can bond, interact and network with your erstwhile navy buddies while regaling each other with delightful anecdotes of the “good old days”.

If you are a Navy Veteran Officer in Pune – I look forward to meeting you at the next Navy Foundation Pune Charter Lunch Meet on 21 January 2018 at Peacock Bay.

If you are an Indian Navy Veteran Officer  in or around Pune – please be there.

NAVY FOUNDATION 

How the Indian Navy Foundation for Veteran Navy Officers was Born

Maybe – for the benefit of Navy Veterans who do not know about the genesis of Navy Foundation – it would be a good idea to share an interesting article by a distinguished erstwhile Navy Chief Admiral JG Nadkarni on the Navy Foundation for Veteran Indian Navy Officers.

I came across this article on the website of the Navy Foundation Mumbai Charter at url
: http://www.navyfoundationmumbaicharter.in/birth_of_the_foundation.html 

I am posting it below for your convenience to read.

Birth of The Foundation by Adm JG Nadkarni
The idea was Ram Tahilianis. He had just returned from an official trip to the United States. Whilst there, he had been greatly impressed by the Veterans’ organisation in that country. I was his Vice Chief. After returning he asked me if a similar organisation could be started for the Indian Navy in India. I was told to look into it and come up with a proposal.
We examined it from all angles. To be effective it would have to be a Naval Headquarters baby. It would have to be fully supported by the Navy in all aspects. At the same time each Unit would have to be totally autonomous. Naval Ex-servicemen are notoriously touchy. Having been subjected to orders all their lives they are averse to be dictated again now that they have retired. Moreover some of the officers were very senior and had to be handled and treated with respect. Anyway, we decided to go ahead and institute an organisation for all Ex-servicemen under the patronage of Naval Headquarters.
We considered many options for a suitable name. It had to be unique and easily acceptable. Such names like Navy LeagueNavy Association were considered and rejected for one reason or another. Finally, we hit upon the idea of Navy Foundation, which was unanimously accepted.
Various models lay before us. The Indian Air Force has an Air Force Association which is open to all Air Force personnel. Somehow we felt that this would not be suitable for us. The class system is still prevalent in India and we had seen what happened in some of the Air Force-Navy housing schemes. We decided that the Navy Foundation should be only for the retired officers of the Indian Navy.
It is one thing to start a body and quite another to make it work. There were already in existence various well established organisations started by retired naval officers. There was the "Navy League" in New Delhi, another body called the "Anchor Hold" in Bombay. In Pune there was the "Retired Naval Officers' Association". These were thriving organisations, who met regularly, had activities, bank accounts, Presidents and Chairmen who were reluctant to give up their positions, dissolve the bodies and join the Navy Foundation.
During the next two months I visited various places, held meetings with their members and tried to convince them that joining the Navy Foundation would be beneficial. Most bodies were reluctant at first. Their biggest worry was that Naval Headquarters would start dictating terms and they would end up being one more directorate of NHQ. I convinced them that each body would be totally autonomous and except for one annual meeting there would not be any interference by the Navy in their day to day functioning. Moreover, NHQ would act as the go between with the Government for various problems faced by Ex-servicemen.
One by one the organisations started seeing reason and decided to merge themselves with the Navy Foundation. Some refused and exist even today as parallel organisations. In Pune Admiral Soman headed the Retired Naval Officers' Association. He readily agreed and was very enthusiastic. In Bombay the association was headed by Commodore Chatterji. He was reluctant at first and took a lot of persuasion but agreed eventually. I am really happy that the original assurance given by us has been meticulously observed by the Navy. There has been no interference, dictating or coercion on these groups.
The next phase was to start "Charters" in various areas where retired naval officers had settled in large numbers. Such Charters were started in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Kochi and Calcutta. Later more Charters were added.
I realized that to really get the Charters going, some assistance from Naval Headquarters would be necessary. Commands were persuaded to make a room available as offices for each Charter. In November 1987, I took over as CNS. I decided that the funds raised in the Navy Ball of 1987 would be distributed to various Charters as seed money for initial financial assistance. We raised nearly Rs. 7 lakhs in that Navy Ball and this money was distributed. Rs 1.5 lakh each to big Charters and Rs. 1 lakh to small Charters.
In 1987, when I was the VCNS we started a magazine called "Quarterdeck" for Ex-servicemen. We roped in then Commander Uday Bhaskar, the Navy PRO and the late Tappi Koppikar to be the first joint editors. Its first issue was a roaring success. It won a prize for the best magazine in its category. On the establishment of the Navy Foundation it became official magazine. Successive editors have improved and embellished it. It is distributed far and wide and veterans look forward to each issue.
During my travels around the country and meetings with naval veterans, I had realized that all servicemen have problems about their welfare, pay, pensions etc. Many of these had landed on my desk when I was COP and a full time body was required to deal with these. When I decided to establish a full time directorate to deal with ex-servicemen's problems and feed them with current happenings in the Navy. Each year we held a get-together of ex-CNSs and other officers and gave them briefings on operations, personnel and other aspects of the Navy. Today the Directorate of Ex-servicemen's Affairs is doing excellent work and acts as a conduit between the veterans and NHQ.
The first annual meeting was held in NHQ under my chairmanship and a constitution was approved. We were able to clear many apprehensions and doubts about the Foundation.
Today, the Navy Foundation is a going body and Charters are well established.
Today, the Navy Foundation is a successful and dynamic organisation. Various Charters are doing excellent work in keeping alive the bonds and camaraderie established during our time in the Navy. There is a total absence of rank consciousness or hierarchy. They have regular get-togethers, illuminating lectures and picnics. Many establish bodies to help widows. The Mumbai Charter has even got a marriage bureau for children of Ex-servicemen!
Ram Tahiliani would be happy that his dream of 1987 has now become a reality...!!! 

-----------------------------------------------------------
Bye for now.

If you are an Indian Navy Veteran Officer  in or around Pune – I look forward to meeting you at the forthcoming Navy Foundation Pune Charter Lunch Meet on Sunday 21 January 2018 at Peacock Bay. 

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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The “Brute” – Fiction Short Story

THE BRUTE
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“You look as if you have seen a ghost…”

“I have seen something worse than a ghost…”

“Worse than a ghost…?”

“Do you know who I saw…?”

“Who…?”

The “Brute”...”

“You saw a “Brute”…? Which “Brute”…?”

“I saw “Raja”. Do you remember him...? He was that big bully in our class who terrorized the entire college. The moment I got out of the bus – I saw that horrible “Monster” standing right in front of me. I was stunned with fear. Even in my wildest dreams – I never imagined – that I would see that brutal “Beast” – standing right in front of me – and that too – over here – in New Zealand…”

“It’s okay…”

“What do you mean “it’s okay”…? I was so terrified to see that dangerous thug – that I ran for my life – luckily – I saw a Taxi – so – I got in – I gave the driver your address – and I came here. I had to pay 10 Dollars for such a short ride – but at least I managed to escape from that terrible ruffian – and I have reached your house safely…”

“Calm down – you are sweating badly – do you want to go to the bathroom and wash your face…?”

“Yes – I desperately need to compose myself after that ghastly experience…” my friend Nisha said. 

I showed her the bathroom – and she went inside.

A few minutes later – looking composed – Nisha came out and sat near me on the sofa.

Nisha looked at me and said:

“It was a “hair-raising” experience – very scary – just imagine – I get out of the bus – and I suddenly see that cruel brute in front of me – and – do you know – that rascal smiled at me – I got very scared – the place was so lonely – that bus stop is at such a desolate place – the bus drove away – there was no one around – and that scoundrel was smiling at me in a depraved manner – I was very frightened – anything could have happened – he could have even dragged me into the bushes and raped me – so – I ran for my life…”

I smiled at Nisha and said to her:

“I had sent him to the bus stop – to pick you up…”

“What…? You sent that “Brute” to pick me up…?”

“Yes – in fact – this morning – when I told him that you were coming to visit me by the 8 o’clock bus – he said he would pick you up from the bus stop and drop you home – and then he would go to work…”

“What…? I just can’t understand anything what you are saying…”

“He is my husband…”

“What…? Are you telling me that “Brute” is your husband…?”

“Yes. “Raja” is my husband. And I request you Nisha – please don’t call him “Brute” – he is not a brute…”

“Why did you marry that hooligan…?”

“He is not a “hooligan”…”

“Of course he was a hoodlum – he bullied and terrorized everyone – I have seen him thrashing some boys from our class – everyone in college was terrified of him…”

“Those boys were “eve-teasing” girls from our class – that’s why he thrashed them…”

“How do you know…?”

“I know. But let’s not talk about all that. We are meeting after so many years, Nisha – you tell me about yourself…”

“No – you tell me about yourself first – how did you end up marrying that “Brute”…?”

“Nisha – please – he is not a “Brute” – please call my husband by his name – “Raja”…”

“I’m sorry – but tell me – how did you end up marrying him…?”

“He saved my life…”

“Saved your life…?”

“I tried to commit suicide by jumping into the river – he was driving past on his bike – and he happened to see me jumping off the bridge – he dived into the water and saved me…”

“But why did you try to commit suicide…?”

“I made a mistake. I had an affair with a married man. We were careless. I got pregnant…”

“What…?”

“By the time I discovered that I was pregnant – it was too late…”

“Too late…? You could have got an abortion done. Isn’t your aunt a gynaecologist…?”

“Are you crazy…? She is my father’s sister – she would have surely told him – and you know conservative my parents are – my mother would have died of shock – and my father would have killed me…”

“What about the man who made you pregnant…?”

“I told you that he was a married man. He had come to town for a week’s visit. We had a brief affair…”

“A “one-night stand”…?”

“Not exactly – but you can say a “week of passionate lovemaking”. And then – he went back to his wife. He doesn’t even know…”

“He doesn’t know that he made you pregnant…?”

“No. He doesn’t know anything…”

“I am getting curious. Who can this person be…? Was it someone you knew before…? One of our classmates…? Or was it a total stranger…?”

“Please, Nisha – I don’t want to discuss all this…”

“Okay – tell me – what happened after that. How did you end up marrying this “Raja”…?”

“I told you – Raja jumped into the water and he saved me from drowning in the river. I was unconscious – so he took me to the hospital – the doctor at the emergency OPD discovered that I was pregnant – so he called the gynaecologist to check me up – and guess what – the gynaecologist happened to be my aunt…”

“Your aunt…?”

“Yes – my aunt worked in the same hospital. The moment she realized that I was pregnant – she immediately called my father to the hospital…”

“Oh My God…!”

“My father was furious with me. He asked me who had made me pregnant – he wanted to know the name of the father of the child…”

“And – you told him…?”

“No…”

“Why…?”

“My father would have killed him for making me pregnant…”

“That guy who betrayed you – he deserved to die…”

“He did not “betray” me – it was a fully consensual love affair – we had a “good time” – we were careless – that’s all…”

“So – you suffered all by yourself…”

“I told you that he was a happily married man – I didn’t want to ruin his marriage…”

“So – what happened…?”

“My father started thrashing me in hospital – he said that he would kill me if I did not tell him the name of my lover – the father of the unborn baby in my womb…”

“So…?”

“Raja stepped forward and said that he was the father of the child…”

“I can’t believe it…!”

“Yes – Raja told my father that he had made me pregnant…”

“Then…?”

“My father asked Raja to marry me…”

“And – Raja agreed…?”

“Yes – and so – we got married…”

“I can’t believe all this – it sounds like a film story…”

“Sometimes – truth is stranger than fiction…”

“How did you land up here – in New Zealand…?”

“Well – it was quite embarrassing for us to live in that small town – tongues were wagging – and even Raja’s parents and relatives were angry with him – and they asked us to live separately…”

“Yes – it was a “one-street town” with old-fashioned conservative culture – everyone must have come to know – with so much gossip flowing around – it must have been terrible for you…”

“Someone told us there was good opportunity for Truck Drivers in New Zealand…”

“Truck Driver…? Was Raja a “Truck Driver” after completing his studies…?”

“His family had a transport company – they owned many trucks – so Raja had all types of heavy vehicle driving licenses. There was a “skill shortage” of Truck Drivers in New Zealand – especially in the South Island – so he got a visa quite easily – and we migrated to New Zealand – and we have been living here ever since – for the past 15 years…”

“I must say that you have done quite well for yourself – considering that your husband is a “Truck Driver”…!”

“Well – here – there is “dignity of labour” – it doesn’t matter what you do – and – truck drivers are paid quite well. But initially – our life was very tough – we lived in small places in South Island – and for me – it was a lonely life when he would be away for days driving trucks – but now – he no longer drives trucks. Now – he has his own stevedoring and transportation firm – so we live here in Auckland…”

“When we met at Auckland Airport – you gave me your address – but – you never told me that you had married “Raja”…”

“Tell me, Nisha – if I had told you that I had married Raja – would you have visited my home…? You called him a “Brute” – didn’t you…?”

“Yes – that’s true. Hey – I forgot to ask – what happened to the child…? You were pregnant when you got married – weren’t you…?

“We came to New Zealand three months after our marriage. I had the baby here – in New Zealand – a son…”

“Where is he…?”

“He’s in school right now – he’ll be back around 3 o’clock – if you stay after lunch – you’ll meet him…”

“Of course I will stay – I want to see your son – and – I want to meet your husband too…”

“Ha Ha – so you want to meet the “Brute”…”

“Don’t joke – I must apologize to him for my strange behaviour in the morning. What time will he be back home from work…?”

“He comes after 6 o’clock in the evening – but I’ll ask him to come early. Don’t worry – the last bus to CBD is at 9 PM…”

“My flight leaves at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning – I have to be at the airport by 8 AM – so I’ll like to reach my hotel by 7 o’clock or so – and pack my things…”

“I’ll tell him to come at 4 o’clock – we’ll have Tea – and you can catch the 5 o’clock bus…”

I pick up my mobile phone – I call my husband “Raja” and tell him to come home early – and he says that – he would finish before 3 o’clock – and – on the way – he will pick up my son from school and be home by 3:30…

Nisha looks at me and says:

“Has Raja accepted your son…?”

“Why don’t you see for yourself when they come home…?”

“You didn’t have any more kids…”

“No. And – what about you…?”

“No. I had two miscarriages – then – the doctors said that it was too dangerous for me to have children…”

“I am sorry…” I say, and I hold Nisha’s hand.

Nisha looks at me and says:

“The actual father of your son – I am sure you have told Raja his name…”

“No…”

“What…? Even your husband doesn’t know who the father of your son is…?”

“No. He never asked. In fact – after agreeing to marry me – when I was in the hospital – Raja told me that he did not want to know who the father of my unborn child was. Raja said that he would look after the child as his own…”

“What about the guy who made you pregnant – does he know that you delivered his child…?”

“No. He knows nothing. I told you that he was a married man – so I didn’t even tell him that I was pregnant with his child…”

“So – you are the only person who knows who the father of your son is…?”

“Yes – it is my very own personal secret…”

“You should have…”

“Please, Nisha – let’s not discuss all this – I have moved on in life…”

“Okay – we’ll talk about our college days…” Nisha said.

We had lunch.

We talked of our college days.

Nisha talked about her life – about her trip to South Island with her friends.

Time passed fast.

Soon – it was 3:30 – and my husband “Raja” and my son arrived home.

Nisha was very nice to “Raja” – she profusely apologized for her rude behaviour in the morning – she told him how everyone in college thought he was a “hooligan” – a “goonda” – a cruel “Brute” – so she was very scared when she saw him in the morning…”

“I guessed it…” Raja said, “So Nisha – you tell me – what does your friend say about me…?” he asked her – looking at me.

We had tea. We talked. We laughed. Nisha played with my son.

Soon – it was almost 5 o’clock – and Nisha said:

“I think it is time for me to leave. There is a bus to CBD at 5 o’clock – isn’t it…?”

“We’ll drop you at your hotel…” Raja said to Nisha, “let’s go for a long drive – all of us – we’ll have dinner at some nice restaurant – and then – we will drop you off at your hotel…”

My son was delighted on hearing this.

“Yes…” I said, “That’s a great idea…”

Later – at night – in bed – I said to Raja:

“Nisha – she kept asking who the father of our son is…?”

“So – you told her…?”

“Of course I did not tell her. I haven’t even told you. I haven’t told anyone. It’s a secret only I know…”

“She was your best friend in college. You should have told her…”

“Are you crazy…? How could I have told Nisha that it was her husband who made me pregnant…?”

The moment the words left my mouth – I instantly regretted my stupidity.

I could not believe that I could have blurted out this.

I looked at my husband Raja and said to him:

“I’m sorry. I am very sorry. I shouldn’t have uttered this. How stupid of me. For all these years – I kept it a secret from you – because you didn’t want to know – and now…”

My husband Raja looked at me and said softly:

“I knew…”

“You knew…? You knew that Nisha’s husband is the father of our son…?” I said, surprised.

“Yes…” Raja said, “I knew it all along…” 

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This story is a revised repost of my story THE BRUTE posted in my Blog on Dec 10, 2017 at url: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/12/the-brute.html 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/12/the-brute.html