Thursday, June 20, 2013




Retirement Ramblings

1. Please read this post only if you have a Sense of Humour. This is a spoof, light-hearted humor, just for a laugh. So take it with a pinch of salt and have a hearty laugh.
2. Serious humourless mentally straitjacketed “Service Minded” types are advised not to read this.
3. This story is a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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 2013 all rights reserved

Here is one of my retirement musings on what I feel is an absurd interpretation and ludicrous implementation of the Rank Has Its Privileges or RHIP Concept. 

I am posting it once more for you to read, enjoy and ponder over. 

As I said, this is a spoof, for fun, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh

Cheers ... !!!

Conventional wisdom says that as you grow older you should reduce your consumption of alcohol and drink less liquor.

However, the Military Canteen Stores Department (CSD) seems to think otherwise.

The more senior you become, the more booze you are supposed to drink.

Yes, your liquor quota increases according to your rank.

I am not aware of the exact liquor quota nowadays, but in our time, junior officers got about 12 bottles of booze a month, the mid-level officers got 14 bottles a month, and senior officers got 16 bottles a month, and flag officers (Admirals) got unlimited liquor. I understand that even after retirement Generals Admirals and Air Marshals enjoy unlimited liquor entitlement.

Well, the numbers may have changed, but the logic remains the same:

Your liquor quota increases in direct proportion to your rank

Going by this topsy-turvy logic one may draw the inference that the more senior you become the more liquor you are supposed to drink.

Conversely, as a corollary, one may surmise that promotion is directly proportional to your drinking capacity or alcohol tolerance level. 

The inference that can be drawn is that drinking enhances OLQ (Officer Like Qualities). 

In a nutshell, this liquor quota conundrum seems to be like a vicious cycle:


(on the premise that high rank increases the appetite for alcohol)

(on the premise that Drinking Enhances OLQ or Officer Like Qualities)

Yes, the more the booze you can put down the hatch and the more alcohol you can imbibe, the greater are your chances of promotion to higher ranks. 

Ostensibly, in the Army and Navy, Career Prospects are linked to Drinking Capacity. 

Your promotion depends on your drinking prowess.


Let me now digress a bit:


By the way, at least in my case, this “promotion is directly proportional to drinking capacity” theory did not hold true. 

For had this premise been foolproof, then 
yours truly would surely have become an Admiral; because in my heyday, I could comfortably polish off more than half a bottle of Rum in a drinking session. Yes, I had enormous capacity to hold my drinks and I could easily drink most of the guys under the table.

Sadly, now I am a teetotaller, but during my early navy days I loved to drink and was a passionate drinker with great drinking capacity. 

If career prospects indeed depended on drinking capacity, I should have certainly gone high up the promotion ladder.

But maybe, I was an exception to the rule. 

And there is a saying:  an exception proves the rule 

Jokes apart, I feel that this absurd logic of a “pecking order” for liquor quotas is a rather bizarre interpretation of the RANK HAS ITS PRIVILEGES (RHIP) concept. 

In fact, it is a rather feudal approach. 

It extends the evil of rank based discrimination to absurd limits.

Can you please tell me by what logic does an elderly ageing senior officer require to drink more alcohol than his much more younger and youthful junior?

In fact, if you ask me, it may be more prudent to give more liquor quota to young carefree bachelor officers and keep them in “high spirits” rather than facilitate senior married officers to drown their sorrows in alcohol and damage their health, besides ruining their family life. 

This RHIP discrimination continues after retirement too.

This happens despite the fact that once you retire you relinquish your active service rank and become a civilian and are considered equal in status with all others.

So while you are in service, your Promotion Potential is directly linked to your Drinking Capacity (also called Alcohol Tolerance Level in medical parlance). 

If you are a good drinker you will have two advantages:

1. Your drinking prowess will enable you reach high rank while in service.

2. Once you hang up your boots, it will ensure that in view of your high rank you will get a higher liquor quota even after retirement.

And now, someone tells me, even the paramilitary forces want to join the liquor quota bandwagon and are applying the same bizarre RHIP logic for determining liquor quotas and want to continue the same rank-consciousness after retirement too.

Some uninitiated civilians must be wondering what is this liquor quota all about?

Well, maybe some veteran can correct me, but as far as I understand, this liquor quota concept seems to be “relic of the Raj

The genesis of this liquor quota probably goes back to the days of the British Raj when a British Officer serving in India away from home was given a certain amount of liquor at concessional rates. 

After Independence, like most rules and regulations made by the erstwhile British rulers, this concept was continued. 

Yes, in many cases we continue to follow archaic “Royal” traditions in our services, some obsolete customs and traditions which even the British have done away with long ago. 

One wonders whether the British Military still have a liquor quota for their servicemen and ex-servicemen. 

As far as the Royal Navy is concerned, I read somewhere that British Royal Navy has discontinued the daily “Rum Rations” given to sailors on board ships which was a centuries-old tradition from the days of the “Rum Bum Lash Navy” (or Rum Sodomy Lash Navy as Sir Winston Churchill is alleged to have famously quipped)

This day, 31 July 1970, the last day when Rum Rations were served to sailors, was observed as “Black Tot Day”.

Whether this “perk” of subsidized liquor is good or bad is a debatable issue. 

But it is certainly an incentive to drink alcohol.

I remember that subsidized liquor (or military rum in popular parlance) was considered a big perk in the erstwhile days of prohibition, when drinking was not quite prevalent in civilian society and there was hardly any good quality Indian Liquor available.

But nowadays, post liberalization and globalization, the choicest of liquor is freely available all over, and since most states levy various taxes and VAT on CSD goods anyway, there is hardly any price differential between the CSD and Civil rates, so gradually a day will come when this “liquor quota” will become irrelevant.

It is interesting to note that whereas there is “rank bias” in the entitlement of CSD liquor quota, there is no “gender bias” as far as booze is concerned. 

Yes, as far as drinking alcohol is concerned, lady officers of the army, navy and air force have equal opportunity to imbibe the same amount of liquor as their male counterparts in the same rank. 

Women may have less alcohol tolerance levels as compared to men. 

Women Officers may enjoy various gender privileges like relaxed physical standards and soft non-combat appointments.

But, as far as liquor quota is concerned, women officers enjoy the same liquor quota entitlement as their male brother officers.

Liquor Quota is gender neutral”. 

In the matter of booze, your gender does not matter - it is only your rank that matters.

Cheers for gender equality. 

In fact, there is gender privilege in case a woman officer outranks her male colleague. 

A senior female officer will get more liquor quota than a junior male officer.

That calls for a drink!

But coming back to the moot point, I still have two sets of unanswered questions in my mind:

1. Are you supposed to drink more alcohol as you get senior? 

Is there a correlation between Rank and the amount of alcohol you need to imbibe? 

Do successful people need to drink more alcohol ?

Do senior officers need to drink more than their juniors ?

2. Is drinking capacity the key to career success ? 

Is promotion to senior ranks dependent on your drinking prowess 

Do you need to drink more alcohol to be successful? 

Is there truth in the premise - The More You Drink The Higher You Go 

Well, I know that you become “high” when you drink. 

But is it a fact that you go higher in your military career if you drink more?

Will some “veteran” be so good as to enlighten us by answering both these questions.

Till then, Cheers – enjoy your “quota” and have a drink ... !!!

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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 2013 all rights reserved

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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