Thursday, June 25, 2015

Humor in Uniform - HOW TO FIND A HUSBAND

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

MATRIMONIAL STRATEGY FOR WOMEN
How to Find a Suitable Husband
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


PART 1 – HOW TO FIND A “BABU” HUSBAND

THE STORY OF THE SMART YOUNG WOMAN

This happened around 33 years ago  in the early 1980– when I was a “Babu in Uniform  pushing files in Delhi.

A smart pretty young woman  maybe 20 or 21  entered my office.

The young woman said that she had been asked to report to me.

“Me?” I asked, pleasantly surprised.

I looked at her appreciatively  since she was very beautiful.

She smiled coyly at the undisguised admiration in my eyes.

Then  demurely  she said, “Sir, you are the administrative officer…?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Sir  I am a new recruit LDC. I have got orders to join this office. I have come for the reporting interview.”

“Oh, please sit down,” I said.

The young woman sat down  and she handed a folder to me.

The folder had her appointment letter and various certificates – educational, sports, dramatics.

I saw that she was a very intelligent, well qualified and talented girl. 

She had done her schooling in a good New Delhi Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV)  and she had completed her graduation from a prestigious college in Delhi. 

She seemed overqualified and over-talented for this job of a LDC (Lower Division Clerk).

I looked at the young woman and I asked her: “You have done so well in your graduation – you have a first class with distinction – and you have so many talents  and you have excelled in so many extra-curricular activities. You should study further. Or you should try to become an officer somewhere. Why don’t you give the Civil Services exam or Banking Probationary Officers exam or apply for some Class 1 Officers post or try for a job in the Private Sector? Why do want to do this clerical job as an LDC?”

“To improve my marriage prospects,” she said, matter-of-factly.

When I heard this incredulous answer  I was flabbergasted.

I looked at her in silence  not knowing what to say.

The young woman looked at me demurely and said: “Sir, please don’t get angry – I am not joking. It is the truth. This is the real reason that I am taking up this clerical job – I am taking up this job of LDC to improve my marriage prospects.” 

“Can you please explain to me how doing this LDC job is going to help your marriage prospects?” I asked, curious.

“Yes, Sir. I will explain to you. Sir  I am the fourth daughter from a lower middle class family. My father works here in the government secretarial service. He joined as an LDC and now he is a Section Officer now. He is retiring next year. He wants to get me married before he retires. He wants to finish off all his responsibilities before he goes back to his village to settle down there,” she said.

“So?”

“This is a non-transferable job, Sir  and I will remain in Delhi throughout my life. It will be easy for them to find a suitable boy in the same service – some LDC  or maybe an UDC. Both of us will be working in offices here in the secretariat only. We will never be transferred out of Delhi. And we will get quarters in Delhi where we can stay for our entire careers. It is all so convenient,” she said.

“Come on,” I said, “You will easily get an Officer husband.”

She blushed at the disguised compliment  and she said, “I know Sir. But we cannot afford the dowry for a high status match. It is best for us to remain within our class. Here  everyone wants a girl with a secure, easy and non-transferable 9 to 5 five-day-week government job  like this one. Besides  if I get someone from the same service  he will be elder than me and also senior to me  so he will get more pay than me – and there will be no ego problems.”

I looked at her. 

I had never seen so much candidness before.

I smiled at her and I said, “I really appreciate your talking to me so honestly. Welcome to the office. I am sure you will do well.”

Six months later she came to give me the good news.

Her marriage was fixed to a UDC working the neighbouring office.

In fact  it was a love marriage – love-cum-arranged – she had liked the boy  and she had told her parents  and they had fixed the match.

Soon she would be married and her father would retire peacefully  all his familial duties done.

Then she and her UDC husband would get a government quarter nearby where they would probably live for the next 40 years  till they both retired  hopefully as Section Officers.

They could look forward to a blissful married life  commuting up and down to office together  and have a stress-free unexciting secure working life  getting slow and steady time bound promotions  and enjoying all the benefits that come with a government job – especially a comfortable white-collar clerical government job in Delhi.

Years passed  I got transferred all over, did so many appointments  I met so many people  and this story went into a remote recess of my memory.

Then  almost 30 years later  after I had retired from the Navy  another interesting incident happened  and suddenly I remembered this story.

I will tell you all about that hilarious incident in Part 2 of this Blog Post.

Meanwhile – ponder over this story – especially if you are a woman – and tell me what you think of the moot question: Do Women take up a Job to improve their Marriage Prospects?


PART 2 – HOW TO FIND A “FAUJI” HUSBAND

THE STORY OF THE SMART YOUNG LADY ARMY OFFICER

Around 5 years ago I was invited to deliver a lecture at my erstwhile institution – an inter-service training institution – where I had spent a considerable part of my career as Faculty on instructional duties.

In the audience  comprising officers of the army, navy and air force  I noticed a familiar face.

She was wearing Army Olive Green (OG) Uniform.

She was the only Lady Officer in the lecture hall.

During the tea break, she came to greet me, and said, “Hello Sir – you have retired?

“Yes,” I said to her, “what a pleasant surprise to see you in uniform. I did not know you had joined the army.”

“Yes Sir,” she said.

“Tell me, the last time we met, you were doing your computer engineering, weren’t you?” I asked her.

“Yes Sir,” she said.

“I thought you would join some Software Firm, work in the IT Sector – or maybe go abroad for further studies. So I am really surprised to see you in uniform – and that too in OG Uniform. What are you doing here in the Army?”

“I am looking for a husband,” she said.

I almost choked  and the teacup nearly fell out of my hands.

Seeing the expression on my face, she said, “Sir  I will be frank with you. I have no illusions about how I look. There is too much competition in the Software Sector. In an IT firm  where there are so many attractive “Techie” girls  do you think that any decent boy will give me a second look?”

“Don’t say that. You look very pretty  and you are a smart young woman,” I said.

“Beauty is all relative, isn’t it? Out there in the IT Sector  almost 50% are girls  there are so many beauties – there is just too much competition. Here  in an Army unit  I am the only girl. Sir  just look there – see the way all those male officers are eyeing me?”

I looked.

She was right.

She was indeed the centre of attraction.

Most of the male Army Officers were looking at her with undisguised affection. 

Some drooled in anticipation.

I looked at her, smiled, and said, “You have a point.”

“You see – here  in the Army  I have no competition  and I can pick and choose,” she said impishly.

So you joined the army for better marriage prospects?” I asked.

“Yes, Sir – that is exactly why I joined the Army – to find a good husband. You are quite surprised  aren’t you?” she said.

“Yes  at first I was surprised. But now I can understand. Your logic seems perfectly rational to me,” I said.

For some time  we sipped tea silently.

“So  have you found anyone?” I asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes Sir – I have found quite a few prospective “fauji” grooms. Now I am shortlisting the candidates,” she said, with a naughty smile on her face.

“It’s a good career move too – both husband and wife in the Army,” I said.

“Sir  to be frank  I am not a career type of girl. In fact  I want to get married, have children, and settle down to a life of cozy domesticity.

What?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, Sir. Once I get married, I will quit the army the moment my first short service commission tenure of 7 years is over – maybe even before that – if they allow me to leave,” she said. 

“You want to quit the army once you find a husband? So you joined the Army just to find a husband?” I asked in amazement.

Tell me, Sir  what can be better than being the wife of an Army Officer?” she said.

“You do have a point there. Being an Army Officer may be tough. But an Army Memsahib really enjoys a good life,” I said.

I always dreamt of being a fauji memsahib – and living a good life. I love the ambience of the cool tranquil cantonments  the clubs  the parties  the social life  so many perks  and, most importantly  the batmen and sahayaks to do all your work,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Ah – batmen and sahayaks – so that’s why you did not join the Navy.”

“Maybe,” she said tongue-in-cheek, “but there is one more reason.”

“What?”

“The competition is much tougher in the Navy – there are so many women officers are in one place – and besides  you have to compete with the chic and savvy beauties in Mumbai. Sir – unlike male Army Officers – who do not have much choice – male Naval Officers have so much to choose from  and  frankly  I knew that with my looks  I just won’t stand a chance out there in the Navy – and here  in the Army  I am like a Beauty Queen...” she said, most candidly.

Then she looked mischievously at me  gestured with her eyes at all the young male Army Officers ogling hungrily at her  and she said, “Sir  look at all those desperate fauji officers. Almost every guy is looking at me  waiting for me to give them the slightest cue. Here  in the Army  it is me who can pick and choose  isn’t it? As they say  I can have the pick of the litter ... !!!  

I laughed. 

She laughed. 

We laughed together.

Everyone was looking at us. 

It was quite embarrassing.

Mercifully  the tea break was over  and we all went in for the remaining part of my lecture.


EPILOGUE

DO YOU WANT TO BE A “FAUJI MEMSAHIB” ?

Later  while driving home  I thought about it.

There was a ring of truth in what the smart young Lady Army Officer had said.

Most Women Army Officers seem inclined to marry their male colleagues (so-called “brother officers” in service parlance).

There are so many “in-service” marriages – it happens quite a lot in the Army.

And I have seen such “incestuous relationships between “brother officers” and “sister officers” happening in the Navy and Air Force too  where erstwhile “sister officers” metamorphose into memsahibs

Yes  in the Army  today’s “sister officers” stand a good chance of becoming tomorrow’s memsahibs.

Maybe the Army can coin new recruitment slogans for attracting young women into the Army:

“ Join the Army for Better Marriage Prospects ” 

“ Join the Army and Find a Husband ” 

or maybe an even better slogan 

JOIN THE ARMY FOR FAUJI MATRIMONY”  THE EASIEST WAY TO BECOME A “FAUJI MEMSAHIB”

So now you know “How to find a Husband” – especially a “Fauji” Husband...!!!

VIKRAM KARVE
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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.

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This is an updated vesrsion of my story LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND first written by me around 3 years ago in 2013 and earlier posted online by me on my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 08 July 2013 titled LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND Musings on Career Women and Marriage Prospects which featured the above Two Stories  THE SMART YOUNG WOMAN and THE SMART YOUNG LADY ARMY OFFICER at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/looking-for-husband-career-women-and.html
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