Friday, May 29, 2015

Humor in Uniform - GUIDE FOR MILITARY OFFICERS AND VETERANS - The 6 P’s of Military Life

Humor in Uniform

GUIDE FOR MILITARY OFFICERS AND VETERANS
The 6 P’s of Military Life
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

A few days ago I met an anxious army officer worried about his career prospects.

Military Veterans are worried about One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP).

This prompts me to delve into my “Self Help” Archives and pull out this article I wrote around 6 years ago, in the year 2009, which I feel is most relevant for military officers and veterans. 

HOW TO ENJOY YOUR MILITARY CAREER and RETIREMENT AS A MILITARY VETERAN

The 6 P’s of Military Life – Self Help for Faujis by Vikram Karve

On page 58 of his war memoir “Himalayan Blunder”  (The Curtain Raiser to the Sino-Indian War of 1962) Brigadier John Parashuram Dalvi narrates an amusing story.

This anecdote pertains to the ill-fated “forward policy” which happened in NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) sometime in 1960.

Indian Army Troops were being hastily rushed up into the Himalayan Mountains towards the China Border without any administrative or logistic arrangements.

A Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion, a Lieutenant Colonel famous for his pungent wit and sense of humour, got so fed up with the absence of any sort of supply system that he decided to use some heavy sarcasm and act in a facetious manner. 

He is reported to have sent one of his monthly routine reports on a chappati (a flat unleavened Indian Bread).

This caused some consternation in the Rear Head Quarters and the officer was asked to forward his “explanation”.

In reply, the Commanding Officer sent the now classic retort:

“I regret the unorthodox nature of my stationery, but atta (wheat flour) is the only commodity available for fighting, for feeding and for futile correspondence”.

I remember someone once telling us that the commanding officer who sent this hilarious reply was none other than General Eric Vas [Lt Gen EA Vas (15 May 1923-18 Aug 2009)].

If my memory serves me right  I think it was the very same General Eric Vas who  in one of his pep talk speeches to young officers of all the three services at IAT Pune many years ago  advised us:

If you want to enjoy service life you should not bother about three things:

1. PAY 

2. PROMOTION

3. POSTING

(He called them the 3 P’s

I think this dictum of the 3 P’s applies across the board, to all careers, including those in the private sector. 

But this truism certainly applies to the defence services, and maybe the civil service as well.


PAY

Many of us focus too much on money and perks (pay or salary or “package” – call it what you like). 

Nowadays, most elite educational institutions boast of the high salary packages their students are offered in campus placement interviews and it seems that pay is the primary consideration for selecting a job.

In my time too, I found so many of my colleagues comparing their PAY with others and getting disheartened and disillusioned. 

Comparing your pay with others is a sure shot formula to feel miserable, because it is a natural tendency to compare with someone who is better-off than you.

If you want to feel unhappy and frustrated all you have to do is to live a comparative and competitive life.


PROMOTION

Are you an ambitious careerist who is indulges in an all-out no-holds-barred competition for PROMOTION.

Ambition is like ringworm

The more you scratch, the more you enjoy the sensation, but the ringworm increases too. 

Every officer wants to get promoted. 

But, if you are cutthroat ambitious type, and getting promoted is the be-all and end-all of your life, you may go higher up in the ladder, but your life will be stressful and you may not be able to enjoy the everyday joys which navy life has to offer.

And one day, due to steep hierarchical pyramid in the defence services, you are likely to be passed over. 

If you are overambitious type, supersession may make you bitter and frustrated, and you may even waste your time fighting the system, which will make you even more bitter. I have seen so many officers, some quite senior, who retire with anger, resentment and bitterness.

In the defence services, it is a fact of life that career progress is slow and your chances of promotion to higher ranks is quite slim. 

In a liberalized democracy, defence services can never match the industry, or even the civil services, in compensation packages. And this gap is only going to increase with more and more liberalization and globalization and with increasing civilian supremacy.

Modest Career Prospects and Moderate Pay. 

That is the truth. And you must accept this truth.

If you want faster promotions, better career prospects and more pay, it is better for you to go and join some other profession. 

But if you are in the army, navy or air force, it is best not to be excessively obsessed about promotion.

If you get promoted, well and good.

If you do not get promoted, also well and good. 

Be happy and enjoy the unique inimitable unmatched lifestyle the defence services have to offer.


POSTING

In the army and air force they call it posting, in the navy they call it transfer, but this is an inescapable part of a career in the defence forces.

Everyone gets posted or transferred.

A sure-shot way of becoming miserable is to compare your POSTING with your more fortunate colleagues 

(By “Posting” I mean not only the geographical location but also the type of appointment and designation).


3 P’s

If you are obsessed with the 3 P’s, it is a guaranteed formula to make you frustrated and stressed out at work.

And if you want to enjoy your work and career, you know what to do:

Just do not bother about the 3 P’s  yes  be a happy go lucky fauji – and just don’t bother about your PAY PROMOTION and POSTING – and you will remain cheerful and happy.

It is a fact that if you live a non-comparative and non-competitive life you are sure to be happy and content.


RETIREMENT – GUIDE FOR MILITARY VETERANS

The 3 P’s of Retirement

Okay, so you did not bother about the 3 P’s (PAY, PROMOTION, POSTING) and enjoyed your service life.

But one day you will retire and then you will have three more P’s which you should not worry about.

Yes, if you want to enjoy your retired life don’t bother about these 3 P’s:

1. POWER

2. PELF

3. PATRONAGE


When you retire you lose your “position power”.

The higher you are the greater the loss of power. 

Many take it in their stride and enjoy their retirement, but some individuals who get addicted to power refuse to let go and cannot cope with the loss of power and keep hankering after it and make their lives miserable trying to get power.

I think this is the main reason why some people never retire and want to keep working and holding on to power till their death.

And it is “patronage” that gets you those plum post-retirement assignments.

That is why you see so many senior officers behaving in a most obsequious manner in the last years of their service – toadying and fawning before politicians and bureaucrats to cultivate powerful people and gain their patronage to get one of those sought-after post-retirement jobs

Another reason why individuals cannot enjoy their retirement and want to keep on working interminably after retirement is “pelf”.

These greedy money-minded individuals are never content with their savings and pension and want to keep on acquiring wealth till their death (though they know that they cannot take their wealth with them to heaven or hell after their death). 

“In extremis, such pelf-oriented persons may even be ready to take up dubious wheeler-dealer jobs with euphemistic titles like “consultants” or “advisors” which sometimes may prove counter-productive and ruin their reputations forever and also tarnish the image of the service.

Retirement is Bliss – if you can forget about the 3 P’s (PowerPelf and Patronage).

In conclusion , I would like to say that your life  especially in the defence services  boils down to 6 P’s.

Yes  if you want to enjoy life  remember – do not be bothered about the 6 P’s :

The 3 P’s while in service (PAY, PROMOTION, POSTING)

and

The 3 P’s after retirement (POWER, PELF, PATRONAGE)


Dear Fellow Officer (Serving and Retired): 

Try it – stop worrying about these 6 P’s and see for yourself how you can enjoy life. 

It works – you can take my word for it.

Do you agree? 

Oh  you don’t? 

Please comment and tell us your views. 

As always  I look forward to your feedback.

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. These tips are based on my own experience and represent my personal views which may not be universal in nature and may not apply to you. You must make your own career decisions with due diligence.
2All 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.
 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

HOW TO BAKE A CAKE - Mathematical Formula Recipe

BAKING MADE SIMPLE FOR ENGINEERS, MATHEMATICIANS and TECHIES 

¾ : 1 : 1 ½  (0.75 : 1.00 : 1.50) 

Recipe for MATHEMATICAL FORMULA CAKE
By 
VIKRAM KARVE
 
 
 ¾ : 1 : 1 ½  

Hey, what’s that?

No, it’s not what you think – it’s not a secret code or some mathematical formula.

This mathematical ratio exemplifies the recipe for a simple cake – probably the first thing I learnt to cook.
 
It’s simple. 

Take ¾ [three-fourth] Cup [vati  or katori ] of fresh butter.

Cream the butter till fluffy with your hand.

[Instead of butter you can use Margarine or Dalda (Hydrogenated Oil) if you prefer]

Add 1 (one) cup of sugar and whisk vigorously till the sugar and butter blend smoothly.

Whip three eggs till they fluff up into peaks.

Fold the well beaten eggs into the butter-sugar batter mixture carefully.

Beat the mixture with your hand till the batter emulsifies nicely.
 
Sieve 1 ½ [one and a half] cups [vaties or katories] of maida (flour) with a teaspoon of baking powder and keep ready in a plate [thali].
 
In a glass pour a generous “tot” of full-bodied dark rum.

The darker and mellower the rum the better it is – as it will have more caramel which will impart an inimitable heavenly bitter-sweet flavour blended with the richly aromatic enveloping tang of molasses.
 
Now start adding, by the tablespoonful, the sieved maida (flour) to the butter-sugar-egg emulsified batter.

Gently fold in and smooth the flour into the batter with your fingers.

At the same time, alternately, from time to time add a few “drops” by the teaspoonful of the full-bodied dark rum to the batter.

You must taste the batter by licking your fingers from time to time, rolling on your tongue, sampling and tasting at every step, till you get the right creamy consistency and taste.

I love to mix in a wee bit of powdered spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg or cloves.

(For fruit cake, get some raisins, orange rind, dried fruit pieces and petha and soak these in a glass of rum for a few hours till the fruit soak in the rum and then gently blend in the rum soaked fruit to the batter. This will prevent the fruit from sinking and will also release aromatic flavorful rum vapour into the cake while it bakes and make the cake rise up well)

You must ensure a proper dropping consistency of the batter by appropriately balancing the liquid rum and solid flour.

Innovate as per your mood and taste, and add a few drops of vanilla essence to remove what remains of that eggy taste.

Cream the batter with your hands till super smooth.
 
Now bake your cake in an oven at moderate temperature (180 Celsius) for around 30 to 40 minutes till done.

(Test with a clean dry knitting needle or small knife - poke the needle or knife into the cake and if the cake is done the needle or knife will come out dry).

The rum will guarantee that the cake does not flop and the hot spicy alcohol vapour escaping from the cake will perambulate within the oven will impart a tantalizing aroma and enticing fragrance to the cake.
 
This cake tastes best when eaten hot – as the blissful fresh spicy hot sensuous vapours overwhelm your olfactory and gustatory senses with their zesty fragrance and rich full-bodied flavour.
 
This is the first recipe I learnt from my mother when I was a small boy.

The “rum” innovation came a bit later.

I prefer to use stainless steel katories (vaties) but can use standard size cups if you want. 

Don’t be too finicky about precise proportions.

Sample the batter and taste at every step and maintain dropping consistency of the mixture.

And, of course, trust the rum to do the rest! 

If you prefer, try using brandy instead of rum for a different flavour.
 
I bake the cake in half an hour and it tastes heavenly.

Baking a cake is so simple, isn’t it?  

Just remember the simple formula -  ¾ : 1 : 1 ½   
For larger cakes just use multiples of this breathtakingly simple formula. 
Happy Baking.
Do remember to tell us how your cake turned out and how yummy it tasted.
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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