Thursday, March 13, 2014

Humor in Uniform - PORTHOLE STRATEGY

PORTHOLE STRATEGY

A few years ago I was “posted” to an inter-services organization, dominated by the Army.
One day a letter arrived from Army Headquarters and was put up to the “Station Commander” – a Brigadier.
The gist of the letter was that the “powers-that-be” had taken a “serious view” regarding misuse of “sahayaks” (batmen/orderlies).
The letter stated that “sahayaks” were not to be used for certain “menial” work.

The letter specified a list of such “degrading” tasks for which use of “sahayaks” was prohibited.
One of the “prohibited tasks” was walking the officer’s dog.
The letter clearly stated that “sahayaks” were not to be tasked to take the officer’s dog for a walk.
If an officer asked his “sahayak” to take his pet dog for a walk then it would tantamount to misuse of the “sahayak” (well, that is what the letter said).
The Brigadier had marked the letter for wide circulation, and some wisecrack in the office had highlighted the point regarding dog-walking and endorsed: “copy to all dog owners”.
That is how a copy of the letter landed up on my table.
I had a pet dog.
But, being a Naval Officer, I looked after my own pet dog and took my dog for walks myself, since I did not enjoy the luxury of a “sahayak” like my army counterparts.
In the evening I took out my dog for the customary walk, expecting to see my fellow army officers walk their dogs, in compliance with the directive.
But lo and behold – what did I see?
The dogs were on their walks, but I did not see any army officer taking his dog for a walk.
It was business as usual.
The Brigadier’s Golden Retriever was on his walk with the Brigadier’s “sahayak”.
The Colonel’s Labrador, the Major’s German Shepherd – all the “army dogs” were being taken for a walk by their “sahayaks”.
Only the “navy dog” was being taken for a walk by his Master (yours truly).
It seems the army too follows the “porthole strategy” as far as inconvenient orders are concerned.


VIKRAM KARVE
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