Saturday, June 14, 2014

Humor in Uniform - ALCOHOLIC TEETOTALLER - a Rum Tale

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

Here is one more delightful yarn of my halcyon navy days from my archives.

Cheers...!!!


THE ALCOHOLIC TEETOTALLER
A Rum Tale
Delightful Memories of my Halcyon Navy Days
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer:
1. Please read this article only if you have a sense of humor. This yarn 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)


THE ALCOHOLIC TEETOTALLER  a Rum Tale by Vikram Karve

Long back, more than 36 years ago, sometime in the late 1970s, we were young officers just introduced to the pleasures of alcohol.

We youngsters thoroughly enjoyed our newly found freedom by topping up to the hilt in the bar every evening.

Though it was supposed to be a Technical Training Establishment, the atmosphere was more OG than Gunnery School.

And to make matters worse, it was located in a desolate place in the back of beyond.

Apart from playing sports, the only recreation for us bachelors was drinking alcohol. 

Also, in order to sleep soundly in the bedbug infested cabins, one had to imbibe a reasonable amount of alcohol every evening.

So, every evening we would assemble in the wardroom bar and top-up till the last sitting for dinner was announced.

In order to curb our excesses, the PMC set a daily limit of 3 large pegs of Rum for each individual officer. 

(Well, during those days we drank only large pegs and three large pegs total about 180 ml of hard liquor – less than a quarter of a bottle, which has almost 13 large pegs) 

Now, for tough young naval officers like us in their early 20’s, three pegs of rum were just too little, especially for an ardent drinker like me.

So I devised a simple strategy. 

I caught hold of my course-mate “X” who was a strict teetotaller 

(Of course my friend “X” was quite a money-minded businessman in uniform too)

I made him a proposition, “If you let me have your rum quota, I will pay your entire wine bill, including whatever soft drinks and snacks you have.”

“X” readily agreed.

In fact, I am sure that in his heart he jumped with joy. 

So we instructed the bar steward accordingly. 

Every evening, the steward would put my first three pegs of rum in X’s bar book.

Whatever subsequent pegs I drank beyond the first 3 pegs would be entered in my bar book. 

(Yes, those days we had bar books which we had to sign at the end of the evening or by next morning).

So every evening as I sat down to drink, my first three pegs of rum would be written in X’s bar book.

In case I drank a fourth or fifth or sixth peg of rum, the steward would write them in my bar book.

(I seldom drank more than 6 large pegs except on rare occasions like parties, but on such occasions of unrestricted drinking, booze was on the house and was not subject to any quota).

So, thanks to X, every evening I would enjoy a generous amount of booze and was quite happy.

“X” was delighted with this arrangement. 

He sat down with us in the evenings, downing soft drink after soft drink, knowing that I was paying for all his soft drinks too. 

I am sure in his mind he was wondering what a sucker I was.

A couple of months passed happily.

One morning the PMC suddenly entered the training hall and thundered, “Who the bloody hell is ?” 

He shouted X’s name and looked around the hall.

“X” meekly stood up.

The PMC strode up to “X” and brandished X’s bar book menacingly and shouted at him, “Do you want to become a bloody alcoholic? You have been religiously drinking three pegs of rum every day for the last two months. I am stopping your booze. No more drinking. You better sober up.”

And then, as suddenly as he had come, the PMC stormed out of the hall, rendering a hapless “X” dumbstruck and speechless.

His reputation as a “drinker” spread pretty fast. 

At parties, when “X” had his usual glass of cola in his hand, the PMC would suspect X’s soft drink was was spiked with rum. 

So “X” started drinking lime juice, but even then the PMC was sure it was spiked with Gin or Vodka. 

The PMC kept telling the Training Officer that he suspected that “X” was still drinking heavily.

Accordingly, the Training Officer kept warning “X” to stop drinking.

(Meanwhile, I had found other sources to replenish my “thirst” for alcohol like picking up a few rum bottles from married officers).

The biggest joke was that the PMC thought that “X” was taking rum bottles from married officers and “X” was warned once more by the Training Officer to abstain from drinking.

Lest his appraisal report (OLQ Marks) be ruined, one day “X” told the Training Officer the whole story. 

The Training Officer told the PMC all about it and soon I found myself being marched up to the PMC.

The PMC had two bar books in his hand – X’s bar book and mine. 

He was turning page after page.

“Is it true?” the PMC asked me, “You seem to drinking 4 to 5 pegs of Rum every evening. Sometimes even 6 pegs of Rum.”

“Yes, Sir,” I meekly said, trembling inside, expecting to be logged, or admonished, by the PMC who was also the XO. 

I surely knew that my booze was going to be stopped so I was thinking in my mind what new arrangements I needed to make to obtain my supply of rum  maybe my friends in the army or air force may help out.

The PMC held up the bar book of “X” and asked me: “And what about this officer  your friend “X”  is he telling the truth that he is a teetotaller or is he also a bloody alcoholic like you?” 

“Sir, he is an alcoholic teetotaller,” I blurted out.

“Alcoholic teetotaller? Bloody Hell! This is the first time I am hearing this crazy oxymoron,” the PMC looked at me curiously.

Then he burst out laughing and said, “Come over for a drink this evening. You seem to be an interesting chap.”

Maybe I reminded him of his youthful days.

I did - that is what he told me after a few drinks - and I could see that the PMC really enjoyed his drinks.

In the evening, as we imbibed peg after peg of the best rum, the PMC, an old sea-dog, was overcome by the Auld Lang Syne Complex - he harked back to his halcyon navy days and excitedly told me about his glorious drinking escapades.

Cheers - That calls for a drink! 

I hope my good friend the “alcoholic teetotaller” is reading this.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© 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)
 
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