Wednesday, September 25, 2013

HUMOR IN UNIFORM - The “Cost to Company” Lieutenant

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS I MET IN THE NAVY

The “Cost to Company” Lieutenant
A Naval Yarn
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE “COST TO COMPANY” (CTC) LIEUTENANT

“How much pay do you get?” the man asked me.

“1100,” I said.

Well, this happened about 35 years ago, in the 1970s. 

I was a newly promoted Lieutenant in the Navy (Equivalent of an Army Captain or Air Force Flight Lieutenant) and those days our pay scale was Rs. 1100-50-1550

(Yes, Lieutenants started off at 1100 with an increment of 50 every year and we remained Lieutenants for 8 long years and then we became Lieutenant Commanders with a pay scale of Rs. 1450-50-1800 --- Of course, now, with the Ajai Vikram Singh Cadre Review bonanza, promotions are much faster and the junior-most rank has been abolished)

At the time of this story, as a newly promoted Lieutenant, I had started off in the pay scale 1100-50-1550.

So I told the gentleman my basic pay – which was 1100 Rupees.

“Do you know ‘G’?” the gentleman asked me.

“Of course I know ‘G’ – he is my course-mate and is serving on a ship of my squadron,” I said, and I named the ship.

“Yes. Yes. It is the same person,” the gentleman said.

Then he paused for a moment and said to me, “Your friend ‘G’ – how much pay does he get?”

“Well, he must be getting 1100 Rupees too,” I said.

“Are you sure he doesn’t get more?” the man asked.

“How can he get more pay than me?” I said, “Well, ‘G’ is also a recently promoted Lieutenant – in fact, he got promoted a month after me since I gained more seniority in the Subs courses – so surely he cannot get more pay than me.”

“That’s strange,” the gentleman said, “your friend ‘G’ told me that his pay is 5000 rupees per month.”

“That is just not possible,” I said, “Even an Admiral does not get that much.”

“Maybe, ‘G’ gets some additional pay,” the man said.

“That is not possible. He cannot get more pay than me. ‘G’ is in the surface navy like me. And even aviators and submariners don’t get that much as he saying,” I said.

“So he is telling lies?”

“Obviously,” I said, “but tell me, Sir, why are you asking me all this?”

“There was a marriage proposal for my daughter.”

“There is a marriage proposal from ‘G’ for your daughter?”

“His parents approached us. Or rather, we approached his parents when someone told us about ‘G’ – that he was a suitable status match for our daughter. Well, we live up-north and we really don’t know anything about the navy. There was some business work in Pune, so I decided to come myself rather than send my manager – I thought it would be a good idea to go via Mumbai and have a look at the boy ‘G’ before progressing matters further,” he said.

The Deccan Queen started its climb up the Western Ghats and soon we reached Lonavala where I got off the train.
                                                                
A few days later I ran into ‘G’ at a party.

“So, you’re planning to get married?” I asked him.

“Not really, why?” he said.

“Well, I met your prospective father-in-law,” I said, and told him about the gentleman I had met on the Deccan Queen.

“Oh, that? It’s just in the first stages. I’ll see the girl when I go home on leave next month,” he said.

“Why did you tell him that your pay was 5000 rupees?” I asked.

“He told you that?”

“Yes.”

“And what did you say?”

“Well, he asked me my salary and I told him it was 1100 rupees,” I said.

“Are you crazy?”

“Why? Isn’t our pay 1100?”

“1100 is our bloody basic pay. That’s the problem with you Maharashtrians – you guys always undersell yourselves,” he said.

“But how can you say that your pay is 5000? Even if you add the DA and other allowances, your pay will be about 1400, isn’t it?”

“What about the monetary value of all the other benefits and perks we get?” he said.

“Other benefits and perks?”

‘G’ looked at me and said, “We get so many things. Let’s take married accommodation – do you know the market rent of the houses we get in prime localities? And what rent do we pay?”

“So you added the difference between market value of rent and the rent we are charged while calculating your total pay?” I asked.

“Of course,” he said, “and there are so many perks and facilities we get – CSD canteen, LTC, medical treatment, membership of clubs, duty free liquor…”

“Duty free liquor? Booze? But you are a bloody teetotaller. Don’t tell me you included the difference in the cost of booze?” I asked, aghast.

“Of course, the differential between market value and what you pay is tantamount to notional salary, isn’t it?”

“So have included the so-called money value of each and every thing when you calculated your salary as 5000 rupees?”

‘G’ looked at me said, ““Obviously. I considered the notional value of all benefits, perks, facilities, subsidies – everything – and came to a figure of 5000. You see, 1100 rupees may be our basic pay, but 5000 rupees is our notional pay.”

I wanted to have the parting shot, so I said to ‘G’: “Instead of the navy, you should have joined the army.”

“Army? Why?”

“In the army you would have got the additional perk of a batman, a sahayak – and you could have added his ‘notional cost’ to your pay. What is the pay, the perks, the notional cost of a soldier – 1000? 2000? – just imagine – you could have told your prospective father-in-law that your pay was 7000 rupees instead of 5000 rupees!”

As I walked away I noticed a curious expression on his face – as if ‘G’ were busy calculating something in his mind.


EPILOGUE

It was much later while I was doing my management course that I learnt of the concept of “CTC or Cost-to-Company.

And then I understood what ‘G’ was talking about – yes, ‘G’ was way ahead of his times!

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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.

Disclaimer:
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.
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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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