Sunday, March 29, 2015

Humor in Uniform - RITES OF INITIATION

Humour in Uniform

RITES OF INITIATION

Continued from Part 1 THE MILITARY “BRAIN”  
url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/humor-in-uniform-military-brain.html

and Part 2: THOUGHT “CONTROL”  
url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/humor-in-uniform-thought-control.html

PART 3 of the Crazy Commodore Series

RITES OF INITIATION
Unforgettable Characters I Met in the Navy
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Dear Reader – as I told you earlier in Part 1 and 2 – after slogging for 5 years in the Navy  afloat and ashore  I was “selected” to undergo the 2 year M. Tech. course at IIT Delhi. 

On completion of my post graduation (M.Tech.)  I was posted to the military “babudom” in Delhi – what we in the Navy jokingly referred to as the landlocked “Northern Naval Command”. 

Though ostensibly it was an R&D billet (in consonance with my recently acquired M.Tech. qualification)  in actual fact I was a pen-pusher  a “Babu” in Uniform.

I clearly remember the first day I reported to my new job after completing my M. Tech. at IIT Delhi.

The officer who I was relieving was delighted that I had reported.

He was a few years senior to me  and he was looking forward to proceeding for his sea time on a good ship.

He explained the duties of the position to me.

Then he took me to the Director (a Commodore)

“Has he been initiated? Has he successfully completed his initiation?” the Commodore asked him.

“No, Sir,” my predecessor said.

“Then why have you brought him to me? See that he is properly initiated first  and then bring him to me – you will be relieved of your duties only after that,” the Commodore said to my predecessor.

I was totally bamboozled  and I wondered what this “initiation” was all about.

I felt confused.

Was this office in the navy  or had I landed in some occult outfit?

To be frank  the sinister way in which the Commodore had said “has he been initiated”? – it sent shivers down my spine.

The whole thing sounded macabre  something paranormal.  

Yes  I was indeed truly terrified on hearing the Commodore’s words: “Has he been initiated? Has he successfully completed his initiation?” 

All sorts of scary thoughts filled my mind.

My imagination ran wild and I trembled with trepidation as I wondered what the “rites of initiation” would be like.

Would there be skulls, black magic, weird dances, eerie agonizing initiation rites, or even more macabre rituals  or worse still  something perverted, abnormal, or unnatural...?

“Don’t worry – it is not what you are thinking,” my predecessor said as if he was reading my thoughts, “You be ready at 6:30 in the evening – I will come and pick you up from your house.”

Well  in the evening  I realized that my fears were totally unfounded.

In fact  the so-called “initiation ceremony” turned out to be a damp squib.

I was taken to a rather salubrious, serene and tranquil place to learn meditation.

After the first training session was over  my predecessor said to me, “You keep coming here every morning and evening till you learn how to meditate properly.”

“Aye Aye, Sir,” I said.

“Please take it seriously and learn how to meditate quickly  so that I can be relieved and proceed for my sea time. It is only when the Guru rings up our boss and tells him you have learnt how to meditate can you start coming to office and take over my duties,” my predecessor pleaded with me.

I enjoyed learning how to meditate – it was a simple method based on breathing.

I learnt how to meditate in 3 days  and the Guru told me that I need not come to him anymore  but I must meditate twice a day at home.

So  in fact  this so-called “initiation” turned out to be quite good for me after all  and I often practice meditation even till today.

But I liked to practice meditation in my own time – in the mornings and evenings at home – because I felt that meditation was my personal affair.

However – our boss – the Commodore  did not think so.

For him  meditation was not a personal matter to be practiced in the privacy of your home.

He had institutionalized the practice of meditation – and everyone in the office was meditating away to glory.

Some were meditating individually.

Some were meditating in groups.

And if the boss saw you meditating  then you earned brownie points.

For example  let me tell you the story of the officer who had dozed off to sleep after imbibing a generous amount of beer at the customary Friday afternoon Pre Lunch Drinks (PLD) in the Navy wardroom.

Guzzling Chilled Beer on a Hot Summer Afternoon has a salutary effect  and so this officer was in deep slumber at his desk  when the Commodore peeped in with a file in his hand.

The officer sitting next to him, at the neighbouring desk, panicked and thought, “It seems to be something urgent  or else why would the Commodore come here to our office.”

So the officer at the neighbouring desk tried to wake up the sleeping officer.

“No,” signalled the Commodore with his hands.

Then  the Commodore said to the officer in soft admonishment, “Don’t disturb him. Can’t you see that he is meditating? When he finishes meditating  ask him to come to my office.”

We were encouraged to meditate singly.

We were encouraged to meditate in groups, especially at lunchtime.

And  once a week  there would be combined group meditation at lunchtime which was compulsory for everyone.

Yes  each and everyone had to attend the group meditation – from the Commodore right down to the office-boy.

The Commodore explained to us that whereas individual mediation would benefit us individually  group mediation would release positive vibes in the entire office  and this would improve interpersonal relationships  and indeed uplift the performance of the entire office.  

This combined group meditation was conducted by the Commodore in the main office hall.

It was during one such combined group meditation session  that suddenly – the Admiral urgently wanted to see the Commodore.

“Sir  no one is picking up the phone in the Commodore’s office,” the Admiral’s Staff Officer said.

“Then you personally go there and call him,” the Admiral shouted.

The Staff Officer returned empty handed and said, “Sir  the Commodore is not in his office. Even his PA is not there. So we don’t know if he has gone somewhere.”

“Then get some other officer from that directorate,” the Admiral said.

“Sir  there is no officer on his seat,” the Staff Officer mumbled.

“What nonsense!” the Admiral roared.

The angry Admiral stormed out of his office  and he started striding down the corridor  pushing open doors of offices  surprised to find them empty  till he reached the main office hall at the end of the corridor.

The Admiral pushed open the door of the main hall.

For a moment , the Admiral was stunned by what he saw.

Everyone  officers and staff  men and women  were sitting as if in a trance – eyes closed  and in deep meditation.

“Stop this nonsense!” the Admiral roared.

The Admiral’s loud voice broke our blissful trancelike spell of meditation.

Then the Admiral looked at the Commodore with angry eyes  and he shouted at the Commodore: “What the hell is wrong with you? Are you trying to make a cult or something? You come to my office immediately.”

That was the end of institutionalized group meditation.

However  the Commodore continued to exhort us to meditate surreptitiously in the office whenever we wanted to.

The Commodore did not give up – he kept on trying to convince the Admiral to get “initiated”.

But then  the Admiral was an elbow-bending down-the-hatch booze imbibing Naval Officer of the “old mould”.

The grizzly old Admiral believed that drowning yourself in spirits was a better way to achieve enlightenment than drowning yourself in spirituality.

To be continued in Part 4 ...

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 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 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.

Abridged and Updated Version of my article INITIATION RITES written by me Vikram Karve on 23 November 2013 and posted online in my various blogs including in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog Earlier   at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/humor-in-uniform-crazy-commodore-part-2.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/06/humor-in-uniform-initiation-rites.html

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I LOVE MY HOMETOWN PUNE - DO YOU LOVE YOUR HOMETOWN

PUNEKARS LOVE PUNE
DO YOU LOVE YOUR HOMETOWN?
Ramblings of a Retired Veteran
By
VIKRAM KARVE

At our Navy Foundation Get-togethers of retired Navy Veterans – I have noticed that most of the Navy Veterans who have settled down in Pune after retirement do not originally belong to Pune – they hail from a different hometown – their “native place” or “roots” are mostly “up north”.

It is the same with military veterans and civilians as well – many people who have their roots elsewhere prefer to settle down in Pune after their retirement.

It is obvious that these people do not love their own hometowns – and that is why they choose to settle down and spend their autumn years in Pune which they like more than their hometown.

In contrast – most “Punekars” prefer to settle down in Pune after retirement.


PUNEKARS LOVE PUNE

Pune is my hometown.

I love Pune.

That is why I settled down in Pune after my retirement from the Navy.

I have seen that Punekars love Pune, their hometown.

Many Punekars serve all over India during the course of their careers.

But one thing is unique for all Punekars – they all love Pune, their hometown.

That is why all Punekars settle down in Pune after their retirement.

I saw this happening in the Navy  all Punekars settled down in Pune after retirement.

I am sure this is true of the Army, Air Force and Civil Services too.

But I also noticed that there were many people who did not want to settle down in their hometown after retirement and chose other places like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Chandigarh etc.

Maybe  they do not like their own hometowns.

They did not want to spend the autumn years of their life in their hometown  but preferred some other place.


DO YOU LOVE YOUR HOMETOWN ?

The true test of whether you love your hometown or not is where you prefer to spend your retirement – the autumn years of your life.

If you settle down in your hometown after retirement  then you love your hometown.

Those who love their hometown settle down in their own hometown.

If you settle down in some other place after your retirement  then you do not love your hometown.

Those who do not love their hometown settle down in some other place.

They do not settle down in their hometown after retirement.

Please note – I am not talking of job relocation during the course of your career.

I am talking about settling down after retirement  after you have finally hung up your boots.

Now, Dear Reader, tell me – DO YOU LOVE YOUR HOMETOWN ?

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

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

APRIL FOOL - Humor in Uniform

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

“APRIL FOOL”
Delightful Memories of My Navy Life
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Today is the 28th of March – just 3 days away from 1st of April – April Fool’s Day

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

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

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

Because of my simple trusting nature it is easy for anyone to take me for a ride – yes – you can easily make a fool of me – and – I have been made an “April Fool” so many times right from my childhood.

In fact – owing to my trusting nature I a simpleton – quite a gullible person – and therefore – a prime target for April Fool Pranks.

When I hark back and think of the occasions when I was made an unsuspecting victim of April Fool Jokes – and when I recall all the April Fool Pranks I was subjected to – I can never forget how I was made a total April Fool”  32 years ago – on the 1st of April 1983.

Here is my April Fool story – have a laugh...

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

01 April 1983

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

(Yes  after slogging for 5 years in the Navy  afloat and ashore  I was selected to undergo the prestigious 2 year M. Tech. post graduate course in Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi aka IIT Delhi from July 1981 to July 1983)

It was the last (4th) semester of my 2 year M.Tech. Course  and I was busy with my dissertation work.

My ex-shipmate entered the Tropo Lab.

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

He said excitedly, “Hey Vikram  congratulations – your appointment has come – you will be going to IAT Pune after your M. Tech.”

I was very happy and joyfully excited to hear this.

Pune is my hometown.

I had never expected a posting to Pune in my naval career  as I thought that  except for a few billets at NDA  there were hardly any billets for naval officers in Pune  especially for technical officers.

In fact  I was worried that they may transfer me back to INS Valsura Jamnagar – where I had spent less than one year (1980-81) on instructional duties  before escaping from there as I was selected for my M. Tech. at IIT Delhi  and I had no desire of going back to that godforsaken place again.

“You don’t seem to be happy?” my friend said.

“I am very happy,” I said, “but how do you know about my appointment?”

“I had gone to INS India Supply Office for some work. I saw your name in a NA List over there. I have just come from there and I came straight here to tell you the good news.”

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

“What about you? Is your name in the NA list? Has your new appointment come too?” I asked him.

“No – I saw only your name in the NA list. Why don’t you go down to NHQ and personally get your appointment letter?” he prompted.

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

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

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

Yes  my name was very much there  at Serial No. 12 of the list of 20 names  and entry in the NA list said that I was appointed on instructional duties to IAT Pune July DTBR.

I wrote down the relevant details of the NA list.

Then – I went to the Base Supply Officer  and I asked him if my appointment letter had come.

The Base Supply Officer called for the NA List folder – he looked at the NA List  and he said, “This NA list has just been issued. It will take some time for the letter to reach here. They take their own sweet time to dispatch the letters. Why don’t you go across to DOP and get your personal copy?”

(DOP was the acronym for Director of Personnel)

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

But I was so excited  that I drew up courage  and I walked into the office of the DDOP who looked after our appointments.

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

He used to visit our ship often  and we had spent many evenings drinking together.

The DDOP too was happy to see me.

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

He enquired about me  about my M. Tech. course  and then he asked me what I wanted.

I told him the story  gave him details of the NA List  and asked him if I could have a copy of my appointment letter.

He called his deputy  handed him the chit with NA List details  and told him to give me a copy of my appointment letter.

The officer looked at the NA list  and looking confused, he said, “Sir, we haven’t yet issued any appointment letters for officers doing M. Tech. at IITs – anyway I will just check and get back to you, Sir.”

After a few minutes he came back and said, “The NA list with this number has still not been issued.”

“What? How can that be?” the DDOP said.

Then the DDOP looked at me – and he said, “Are you sure you saw the NA list in the INS India Supply Office?”

“Yes,” I said, “it is right on top in the NA list folder in the base supply office.”

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

He seemed to be speaking to the Base Supply Officer. 

The DDOP read out the number of the NA list – then waited for some time – then he listened to the voice on the other side  and then he said to me, “Just go down to the Base Supply Office and get the NA list folder – I want to get to the bottom of this.”

As I was leaving  I could hear him speak on the phone, “I am sending the officer to you…”

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

Among my friends – standing prominently with a big smile on his face – was the Captain of my previous ship (now a Commodore posted in NHQ)  and it was he who had orchestrated the whole practical joke.

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

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


EPILOGUE

During the PLD beer session  I put on a mask of cheerfulness  but deep inside I was feeling terrible.

I think the Commodore (my ex ship’s CO) and the DDOP noticed this  so they asked me for my choice of transfer on completion of my M. Tech.

“IAT Pune,” I said tongue-in-cheek, “but if that is not possible then anywhere except Jamnagar.”

Three months later  I was transferred to a billet in New Delhi as an Asst Director in R&D.

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

I had been appointed for instructional duties to IAT Pune July DTBR.

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

All is well that ends well.

HAPPY ALL FOOLS DAY

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

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.