Friday, March 27, 2015

“FAUJI” LIFE IN A NUTSHELL - 12 Attributes of a Military Career

“FAUJI” LIFE IN A NUTSHELL
12 UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES OF A MILITARY CAREER IN THE DEFENCE FORCES
Tips from a Military Veteran

By
VIKRAM KARVE


(The generic term “FAUJ” includes all the three Armed Forces – Army, Navy and Air Force)


A career in the Defence Services or Armed Forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force is different from most other civilian careers. 

The unique attributes of a military career entail a distinctive “way of life” that makes a career in the armed forces totally different as compared to a career in the civilian world.

Many young persons join the defence services without fully understanding the unique aspects of a military career and then they feel out of place, mismatched, frustrated and regretful.

During my long naval career I have seen so many officers who realised that they were misfits in the navy and wasted many frustrated years of their lives in misery trying to get out of the navy.

Please do not let that happen to you.

Do join the Army, Navy and Air Force  but do so with due diligence  with your eyes open and with full awareness. 

It may prove foolhardy to join on a sudden impulse or in a wave of jingoism. 

You must be realistic about choosing your career – whether in the Defence Services or elsewhere – because your career is probably the most important part of your life.

If you have the right attitude and compatible mindset – then a military career is very satisfying and fulfilling.

But if your attitude in not in sync with the military way of life  then you may get frustrated and your life may become miserable.

That is why  before you join the defence services  make sure you have the right attitude suitable for a career in the armed forces.


“FAUJI” LIFE IN A NUTSHELL

To put “Fauji” Life in a nutshell  here is a list of 12 Unique Attributes that characterize a Military Career in the Armed Forces (Army Navy or Air Force):

1. HOLISTIC ORIENTATION

2. LIFETIME EMPLOYMENT

3. REGIMENTATION 

4. TOUGH DANGEROUS CHALLENGING WORK

5. MODERATE COMPENSATION PACKAGE

6. MODEST CAREER PROSPECTS

7. NON-SPECIALISED CAREER PATH 

8. CONFORMIST ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE

9. RIGID RANK BASED HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE 

10. INFLEXIBLE HR POLICIES

11. UNSTABLE NOMADIC FAMILY LIFE

12. EARLY RETIREMENT AGE 

If you planning to join the Armed Forces you must ask yourself whether you have the right attitude and compatible mindset to match all these 12 military attributes.

I am sure you understand each of the 12 points mentioned above which are self-explanatory  but, nevertheless, I shall try and elaborate on each point later in my blog.

Also – it is always a good idea to talk to young officers of your age group to get a first-hand view of life in the respective Defence Service – as serving officers will be more updated and current in this matter.

All the Best.

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.

This is an abridged extract from a series of career counselling articles written by me Vikram Karve 5 years ago in 2010 as a part of my career guidance lectures and I have Earlier Posted this article in my Academic and Creative Writing Blog 2 years ago in 2013 at urls:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/career-guidance-tips-do-you-want-to.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/08/army-life-in-nutshell.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/career-guidance-tips-do-you-want-to_9.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/career-guidance-tips-do-you-want-to_4735.html

Humor in Marriage - MUTUAL COMPATIBILITY IN ARRANGED MARRIAGE

ARRANGED MARRIAGE - MUTUAL COMPATIBILITY
A Spoof by VIKRAM KARVE

During an arranged marriage "boy girl seeing kande-pohe ceremony" the very first question the boy asked the girl was: "Do you drink?"
The girl was taken aback, as she had not expected this to be the very first question, but she recovered her wits and said truthfully: "No - I do not drink - I have never touched alcohol. But why did you ask me this question?"
"Because I drink heavily - and we do not want a husband-wife team of drunkards, do we? It will be disastrous for the children," the boy said to the girl.
Then, the girl asked the boy: "Do you know how to cook?"
"Yes - I know how to cook quite well," the boy said, "but why do you ask?"
"Because I don't know how to cook - and it will be a total disaster if our children starve, isn't it?" the girl said to the boy.
They are "happily" married for 33 years now.
The boy gave up drinking long back - around 15 years ago.
The girl still does not know how to cook.

(Disclaimer - This story is a work of Fiction and the characters do not bear any resemblance to any real life persons)

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 blog post is a 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)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WHY WE FOLLOW RITUALS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

Humour Wit Wisdom

WHY WE FOLLOW RITUALS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

Do you believe in rituals? Or follow customs and traditions? 

Are you superstitious? 

Then – you must read this witty story titled  THE MYSTICAL CAT – from my Teaching Stories Archives.

THE STORY OF THE MYSTICAL CAT
Ancient Wisdom Teaching Story
Narrated By
VIKRAM KARVE

The military is steeped in tradition.

There are many customs, traditions and rituals.

I remember  there was a custom in the Army  in the Artillery  where you do not light more than two cigarettes with a single matchstick.

There was a logical reason for this practice during World War I  when – in the darkness of the night – an enemy sniper or gun observation post – first saw – then took aim – and fired on the third light.

But today  this tradition seems archaic and meaningless.

In the Navy  we do not clink glasses while drinking or making a toast.

This is plain pure superstition.


In the Navy, if we asked the reason for a certain custom which we found meaningless  our seniors would admonish us: This is the Naval Tradition”  

Even in our day to day life  in the name of tradition  we unquestioningly follow customs, traditions and ceremonies and perform all types of religious, social and superstitious rituals without understanding the spirit behind the ritual.
 
A ritual is an action performed purely for symbolic value.
 
In many cases there is no logic or rational explanation for the ritual. 
 
This apocryphal story from ancient wisdom The Mystical Cat” illustrates how customs, traditions and rituals begin – and continue unquestioningly till eternity.

The story also tells you how due to repeated repetition over the years these customs and rituals are gradually established and become a part of culture. 

And then, once established, customs, traditions and rituals are blindly followed for years and years, despite the fact that, in most cases, these customs and traditions have lost their significance and the rituals have outlived their utility and meaning.
 
THE MYSTICAL CAT – an apocryphal wisdom story retold by Vikram Karve

A seeker joined a monastery to learn meditation and the art of living. 

Every evening all students and disciples assembled in the large meditation hall for a discourse by the Spiritual Guru followed by group meditation.

Just before the meditation session commenced the disciples would catch a cat.

Then they would tie up the cat – and place the tied up cat on the lap of the Spiritual Guru. 

The Guru would then start caressing the cat  and begin the discourse and meditation session. 

After the meditation session was over  the cat would be untied and set free.

This was the established daily ritual.

The Guru would start the meditation session only after the tied up cat was placed on his lap.

The Spiritual Teacher was extremely particular about this.

Once when the cat could not be found  the Guru refused to start the meditation session and demanded that the cat be placed on his lap.

So the meditation session was delayed  and all the seekers launched a desperate hunt for the cat.

The searched for hours till they found the cat.

The cat was duly tied up and placed on the Guru’s lap  and only then did he start his discourse-cum-meditation session.

The seeker was quite perplexed at the mystery of the tied up cat. 

He could not understand the significance of this ritual.

In fact he was quite puzzled at how this ritual of a tied up cat on the Guru’s lap was connected to meditation. 

The seeker wondered: What is the significance of the tied up cat placed on the Gurus lap and what is its correlation with meditation?” 

He asked around the monastery – but no one knew the answer  till someone told him to ask a wise old man who lived in a cave up the hills.

So – one morning  our curious seeker trudged up the hills to meet the wise old man  and – when he met the wise old man’ – the seeker asked him the significance of this time-honoured ritual.

“It is like this,” the wise old man said:

“one evening  many years ago  when the then Spiritual Guru and his disciples began their evening meditation  a cat that lived in the monastery made so much noise  that it distracted them  and disturbed their meditation practice. 

So the Guru ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening discourse-cum-meditation practice. 

This practice of tying up the cat before meditation practice continued  so much so  that even after the Spiritual Teacher died  the next Guru continued this tradition – and the cat was tied up every evening during the meditation session.

When the cat died  another cat was brought to the monastery to be tied up during the evening meditation session.

And when that cat died too  they brought another cat to be tied up during meditation practice  and then as cats kept dying  they kept replacing the dead cats with new cats  and the practice of tying up a cat during meditation continued.

With the passage of time this became an established ritual.

Once precedence has been established  no one can dare to question it. 

So  it has become a custom, tradition and established ritual to tie up a cat during the meditation session.” 

Satisfied by this story – the seeker came down to the monastery – and from then onwards – the seeker actively participated in the daily evening pre-meditation ‘tying up the cat ritual.

Many years passed  but the ritual of tying up the cat during the meditation session continued and continued  – till it became an eternal established ritual.

Our seeker 
 who by then had become the Spiritual Guru  wrote a scholarly treatise about the significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.




DO YOU BLINDLY FOLLOW RITUALS, CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITION WITHOUT QUESTIONING THE LOGICAL BASIS OR RATIONALE ?

I wonder why we accept customs and traditions without understanding their significance?

Just like a blind man lead by others who are blind 
 why do we blindly follow rituals without examining the meaning, logic and significance of that ritual using our own intelligence and judgement?


Why do we follow customs, traditions and rituals that are obsolete  – and which have lost their significance and outlived their utility?


If you see any ritual, custom or tradition being blindly followed by people  and for which there seems to be no rational or logical explanation  remember this story of ‘The Mystical Cat.


Ask questions  and find out the logical basis for the ritual, custom or tradition. 


Is there some rationale for the belief  or is it just superstition?


And if you are not convinced  it is better to stop blindly following superstition which has become meaningless in the modern world of today.


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 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)
 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DABBA GOSHT – “MELT IN THE MOUTH” BAKED MUTTON CURRY

This morning, I was discussing with a fellow foodie some of the quintessential Mumbai dishes.

I mentioned DABBA GOSHT

She wanted to know more about it.

So, let me dig deep into my Foodie Writing Archives, and pull out for her, and you, this Dabba Gosht recipe I had posted long back, more than 10 years ago, and which features in my Foodie Book APPETITE FOR A STROLL.

DABBA GOSHT – MELT IN THE MOUTH BAKED MUTTON CURRY
Recipe for the Inimitable Baked Mutton Curry Delicacy
By 
VIKRAM KARVE 

From my Foodie Archives: One of my favourite dishes... 

I love Dabba Gosht.

If you have tasted it you know that it is unmatched, unparalleled, unique, inimitable – the ultimate amongst mutton dishes in Indian Cuisine.

It’s a rare, exquisite, delicious, succulent, melt-in-the-mouth boneless mutton delicacy dish  and only very few select eateries feature it on their menu.

My Dear Reader 
 Fellow Foodie  let me tell you how I make it  and you will know how it tastes.

RECIPE FOR DABBA GOSHT
 
I take some good quality fresh boneless mutton, say half a kilo, cut into small pieces, wash it clean, rub it thoroughly with ginger - garlic - green chilli - green papaya paste and keep aside to marinate for a while.

I believe that cooking is a qualitative art 
 not a quantitative science.

So  I will leave the choice of exact proportions to you as per your experience and taste – I like to use a wee bit of green papaya paste as tenderizer for meat  but if you don’t want to use raw papaya  and if your meat is very tender – then it just does not matter.
 
In a pan  with a tight fitting lid  I take enough water  say two cups  add whole spices [cloves, cardamom – both badi and choti elaichi, cinnamon, peppercornsjeeratejpatta], salt to taste.

Then I add the marinated boneless mutton pieces  fit the lid tightly  put on a slow fire  till the mutton is cooked.

Please note – I have not added any oil so far (only water, then the spices and then the marinated mutton).
 
I love to sample and taste from time to time and assure myself everything is fine – tasting always helps me plus-minus the ingredients as required.
 
Now  I separate the cooked boneless mutton pieces and keep them aside. 

I do not throw away the spicy mutton stock – we will be using it to prepare the cashew-nut gravy.
 
Now I prepare a dahi-based thick kaju gravy starting off with a generous amount of pure ghee to nicely sauté the spices, herbs, masalas, liquidized onions, tomato-puree.

Then I add the spicy mutton stock and  I prepare the rich cashew-nut gravy letting my imagination run riot – whisked curds, whipped cream, roasted onion paste, rich cashew-nut paste [fortified with almond-dry fruit pastes], grated cheese, even grated boiled eggs.

Sometimes  if I don’t have all the ingredients to make the gravy thick enough  I may boil very small pieces of macaroni or spaghetti in the spicy mutton stock to smoothen and thicken the gravy.
 
I always keep tasting the gravy  so you too do not forget to taste the gravy.

The gravy should be so luxuriant and lip-smacking yummy that you should want to chew your fingers.

Once the gravy is ready – I stir in the fragrantly spiced cooked boneless mutton pieces and thicken the gravy to baking consistency.
 
I thoroughly beat four eggs and delicately blend in half the beaten egg mixture into the boneless mutton gravy till they merge well. 

Now I grease a baking tin with a liberal quantity of pure ghee – and then I pour the mélange into the greased baking tin

Then I pour a generous dollop of ghee on top of the yummy thick ready to bake mixture and bake on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes till almost done.

When the dish is almost done – on top of the baked melange  I pour the remaining whisked egg mixture  add a dollop of pure ghee  and complete the baking process till the dish is glazy and crusty

When ready  I garnish with fresh green coriander, thin ginger slices and juicy red tomato slices  and the Dabba Gosht is ready to be devoured.

Dabba Gosht tastes superb with freshly baked pav or soft rotis served hot.
 
Dear Reader  you must have your own culinary discovery  but let me tell you that I find Dabba Gosht a superb eating experience – generous boneless mutton pieces, soft, juicy, succulent, releasing scrumptious flavor as they melt in my mouth and the yummy, delectable luxuriously thick white gravy made rich, wholesome and nutritious by the sumptuous combination of ingredients like cashew (kaju) paste, fresh cream and eggs.

It is a rare and magnificent eating experience  which makes my mouth water even as I write this.

Dabba Gosht is a supreme feast fit for the kings...!

Next time you eat out  scan the menu for Dabba Gosht. 

It is a Mumbai speciality and you will surely find it at a few select places in Mumbai like Noorani, Delhi Darbar et al

My personal favourite in the Dabba Gosht at Noorani near Haji Ali on Tardeo Road.

I have once savored an excellent Dabba Gosht at Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar near Metro where I think they don’t bake it but “dum” cook it 
 leaving the gravy a bit less thick  so you can enjoy it with roti – yes - the Dabba Gosht tasted delicious with Khameeri Roti.

I have also chanced upon a decent Dabba Gosht at Sadanand Restaurant in Pune 
 located opposite Balewadi  at the junction of Baner Road and Katraj Bypass  and I found the Dabba Gosht excellent.
 
Wherever you are  search for Dabba Gosht  or cook the exquisite dish yourself. 

It is best to bake it as I have explained in the recipe  but if you prefer you may dum cook it. 

Remember to enrich the dish  play around with the ingredients  improvising, experimenting, improving the recipe  and then relish it to your heart’s content.

And don’t forget to tell us all about your Dabba Gosht cooking and eating experience ... ! 


WHY THIS DISH IS CALLED DABBA GOSHT

Dear Fellow Foodie – have you wondered why this dish is called DABBA GOSHT

Dabba means ‘TIN’ 

Gosht means ‘MEAT’

So  does this imply that Dabba Gosht is mutton cooked in a tin ...? 

Yes  we baked the dish in a baking tin – isnt it...?

Wait a minute. 

There is another explanation too. 

Dabba, pronounced differently, also means ‘PRESS’.   

I have heard a theory  maybe apocryphal  that the dish is called Dabba Gosht because the boneless meat pieces are pressed against a special stone to enable the marinade and masalas to permeate thoroughly  and make the boneless mutton pieces truly delicious, succulent and melt-in-the-mouth.

Well  whatever the version of the origins of its name  the fact is that Dabba Gosht is mouthwateringly lip-smackingly delicious. 

Do try out the recipe  and tell us how you liked it.

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 recipe is based on my improvisation. You are requested to do due diligence and use ingredients/cooking method as per your discretion/style.
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.

I wrote this recipe long back around 10 years ago, and it features in my foodie book APPETITE FOR A STROLL,  and I have also posted the recipe online in his foodie blogs at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/01/baked-mutton-curry-dabba-gosht.html  and   http://creative.sulekha.com/dabba-gosht-exquisite-mutton-delicacy_400861_blog