Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rear Window – Pure Romance

MY REAR WINDOW ROMANCE STORY
A Fictional Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer: 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.

Part 1 : REAR WINDOW

I am sure you have seen the classic movie REAR WINDOW – directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

Rear Window is a quintessential Hitchcock style mystery thriller made in 1954.

In my opinion – Rear Window is one of Hitchcock’s best films – a masterpiece – an awesome movie – despite its simplicity.

The Story is simple.

A newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes time recuperating by observing his neighbours through his window.

After he breaks his leg during a dangerous assignment – the main protagonist – a professional photographer (James Stewart) is wheelchair bound and confined to his Apartment, while he recuperates.

His rear window looks out onto a small courtyard and several other apartments.

During the hot summer – he passes time by watching his neighbours – who keep their windows open to stay cool.

Each of the “objects of attention” – occupants of the other apartments who are being observed by our protagonist – depict insightful interpretations of the entire gamut of human relationships – as the main protagonist “watches” them through his “rear window” – and – we – the movie viewers – share his voyeuristic surveillance – as the movie takes mysterious twists and turns till it reaches a terrific climax.

Rear Window is an engrossing film – a fascinating portrayal of our tendency towards curiosity and voyeurism.

The movie exposes many facets of the loneliness of city life and it tacitly demonstrates the impulse of human curiosity. It explores our fascination with looking at persons, objects and things – and – the attraction of “objects of our attentions”.

I am sure you have had many such “rear window” experiences.

Well – I have had my share – especially when I lived in high-rise “gated communities” – or – in residential complexes which have rows of high-rise buildings where balconies face each other – giving you a clear view – like in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi. 


Part 2 : MY “REAR WINDOW” ROMANCE STORY

Let me tell you about a rather amusing “rear window” story that happened to me.

Once upon a time – we lived in a high-rise residential complex – and from the rear balcony (“Rear Window”) of our top floor apartment – I had a “grandstand view” of the apartments of neighbouring building.

One day – when I was shopping in a Mall – a beautiful woman looked at me – she smiled – she walked up to me – and she said: “Hello – so nice to meet you in person.”

I was flabbergasted.

Seeing my bewilderment – the lovely lady said to me: “Don’t you recognize me? I live in the neighbouring building – right opposite your balcony. We have been “looking at each other” for more than 3 months now. It’s been quite a long “long distance relationship” – and – I was wondering whether we would actually meet face-to-face. It is such a pleasure to meet you. By the way – my name is ‘XXX’…” she said, proffering her hand.

I shook her hand – I introduced myself – and I said to her: “I am really sorry for not recognizing you…”

“Really…? You did not recognize me? Every time I see you standing in your balcony – you seem to be looking intently at me. I think you better get your eyesight checked…” she said with a mischievous smile.

And then – she said goodbye – and she walked away to continue with her shopping.

I felt hungry – so – I walked to the ‘Food Court’ in the Mall.

There – I saw another “long distance” “rear window” “object of my attention” – a pretty young girl – who – it seemed  was recently married.

In the food court – she was sitting with her husband – who I had seen occasionally in his balcony.

I confidently walked up to pretty young girl  and I said to her: “Hello!!! Great to see you here. It feels so nice to meet you

The girl gave me a perplexed look.

“Don’t you recognize me…? We look at each other every morning across our balconies – especially when you hang your clothes to dry…” I said to her.

The girl looked away – she seemed embarrassed.

But – her husband gave me a fierce look and he angrily said to me: “Have you been staring at my wife…?”

“NO. NO. Please don’t misunderstand. It is not what you think…” I said to the angry husband.

I believe in the dictum: Discretion is the better part of Valour...

So  I beat a hasty retreat. 


Part 3 : EPILOGUE

Next morning – as usual – I was standing at my “Rear Window” – observing the “goings on”.

I saw the beautiful lady – the first “object of my attention” (the first woman I had met in the Mall).

She was standing in her balcony with a cup of tea in her hand.

I could see her clearly – since I was wearing my newly acquired spectacles.

(Yes – as advised by her – I had got my eyes checked immediately at the Optician’s Shop in the Mall and obtained a pair of spectacles)

She waved out to me – I waved back.

Then – she went inside – probably to get ready for office.

I shifted my gaze downwards.

I could see the second “object of my attention” – the newly-married girl whose husband had angrily scowled at me.

As per her morning routine – she was hanging the washed clothes on the clothesline to dry.

I tried to avert my eyes.

But – she looked towards me – and – she smiled at me – and she gave me jovial wave.

I vigorously waved back to her too.

One thing is clear – as far as women are concerned (it applies to some men too): 

“One look of genuine admiration in your eyes  is worth a thousand verbal compliments...” 


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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

This is a repost of my story Humor in Romance : REAR WINDOW first posted online by me Vikram Karve on 13 April 2016 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-romance-rear-window.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/birdwatching-my-rear-window-romance.html

Navy Foundation Pune – “Alumni Association” for Navy Veterans in Pune

This Sunday (26 March 2017) – we have a Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC) Meet at Army Sub Area Mess in Pune.

Dear Reader: This prompts me to 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 delicious lunch. 

Sadly – I missed the last meet – since I was was out of station. 

Now – I look forward to the meet on Sunday at Sub Area Mess in 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 26 March 2017 at Sub Area Mess in Pune.

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 next Navy Foundation Pune Charter Lunch Meet on Sunday 26 March 2017 at Sub Area Mess in Pune. 

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.

Navy Foundation Pune – “Alumni Association” for Navy Veterans in Pune

This Sunday (26 March 2017) – we have a Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC) Meet at Army Sub Area Mess in Pune.

Dear Reader: This prompts me to 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 delicious lunch. 

Sadly – I missed the last meet – since I was was out of station. 

Now – I look forward to the meet on Sunday at Sub Area Mess in 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 26 March 2017 at Sub Area Mess in Pune.

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...!!! 

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Bye for now.

If you are an Indian Navy Veteran Officer  in or around Pune – I look forward to meeting you at the next Navy Foundation Pune Charter Lunch Meet on Sunday 26 March 2017 at Sub Area Mess in Pune. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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