Saturday, November 29, 2014

“JOINTMANSHIP” – NAVY DAY IN PUNE : Humor in and “out of” Uniform

Humor in and “out of” Uniform

“JOINTMANSHIP”  NAVY DAY IN PUNE
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“IF ONLY”

Now that I am in my autumn years, I sometimes wistfully say to myself: “If only I had bought a house in South Mumbai?”

(This is probably the sole “if only” regret I have)

You may ask: “How can an honest naval officer afford a house in South Mumbai?”

(In fact, if you are an honest naval officer it will be difficult for you to buy a house in any part of Mumbai)

But I feel that if only I had been “money smart” in my early navy days, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, then maybe a house in Mumbai could have been possible.

Yes – “if only” I had been “money smart” and “invested” wisely instead of blowing up my salary having a good time and “saving” what little remained of it into my Provident Fund.

But, if I had been “money smart” I would not have joined the Navy in the first place.

So this whole “if only” premise is a non sequitur going around in circles.

So, my advice to young Naval Officers is  after retirement, it is best to settle down in Mumbai, which is the premier Navy Station – or at least in a coastal city like Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa etc where there is a naval presence – or even in Delhi/NCR where the mighty “Northern Naval Command” is located.

This is because if you settle down in a landlocked place like Pune after you retire from the Navy, you tend to “burn your bridges” with your erstwhile service.

The only redeeming grace is the Indian Navy Foundation – a purely social organization set up to facilitate fraternal relations between retired naval officers.

Luckily, the Navy Foundation has a “chapter” (aka “charter”) at Pune.

Membership is voluntary – and I am glad I became a member, because the quarterly Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC) meetings are the best occasions for meeting and renewing bonds with my former navy buddies.

Now, after retirement, my only “lifeline” with the Indian Navy is the Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC)  which organizes meets once in a quarter at convenient locations in Pune.

A few months ago, on the 28th of September 2014 to be precise, NFPC organized a wonderful get-together at Lonavala (thanks to the warm hospitality of CO INS Shivaji and his young naval officers).

On the way back from the picnic, while we were travelling back to Pune by bus, someone suggested National Defence Academy (NDA) as the venue for the next NFPC meet.

“We will have to wait till NDA has a Navy Commandant, or till at least a Navy Deputy Commandant comes to NDA,” the NFPC office-bearers said.

Some navy veterans were quite surprised, but then we understood – maybe the NFPC office-bearers did not want to suffer a repeat of the previous year’s harrowing experience of “jointmanship” when the army “pongos” had put them in a spin and made them run from pillar to post.

Let me tell you about the NFPC navy veterans’ “jointmanship” experience in November/December 2013.

“JOINTMANSHIP” – NAVY WEEK 2013

Customarily, the Navy Foundation Pune Charter (NFPC), has a get-together of retired veteran naval officers and families on the last day of the Navy Week, on the Sunday following Navy Day (4th December).

In mid-2013, the NFPC officer bearers had discovered a lovely venue for Navy Foundation get-togethers – a resto-cum-lounge bar called Atlantis conveniently located in Wanowrie and the meet held there was appreciated by one and all

Accordingly, a lunch was planned on the 8th of December 2013 (last day of the Navy Week) at Atlantis, the popular convenient tried-and-tested venue, having amenities like valet parking, affordable, with excellent ambience and providing delicious food – ideal for senior citizen veterans and families.

However, a few “oldie-goldie” naval officers of the “old mould” opined that the function should be held at a “Military” venue.

Though these oldie-goldies were in a miniscule minority, in deference to their wishes, the organizers agreed.

Accordingly, the NFPC office bearers duly approached the army authorities, only to be subjected to a profuse dose of “jointmanship”.

I heard that the army “pongos” put the navy veterans in a spin and made them run from pillar to post, and after having made the hapless navy veterans trudge back-and-forth obtaining so-called “approvals”, they finally agreed to give the RSI venue on 22nd of December.

(Of course, the office bearers were “warned” that this date could be cancelled anytime subject to “exigencies of service” – a euphemism for “whims and fancies” of the army in the context of this case).

The “pongos” did not seem to understand the sanctity of having a Navy Week function during the Navy Week – or maybe they just don’t care – or maybe they wanted to subject the navy veterans to dose of “jointmanship”.

Unfortunately, the Navy Veterans could do nothing about it and they had no choice but to “like it or lump it” since here, in Pune, it is the Army that calls the shots.

So, thanks to “jointmanship”, the “Navy Week” get-together of NFPC was held on 22 December 2013.

So, in the year 2013, Navy Veterans of Pune celebrated “Navy Week” two weeks after Navy Week was over.

“JOINTMANSHIP” – NAVY WEEK 2014

As I told you earlier, on the way back from the wonderful Lonavala picnic meet, some ex-NDA navy veterans suggested NDA as the venue for the “Navy Week NFPC Meet”.

The NFPC officer bearers were quite skeptical and remarked: “We will have to wait till NDA has a Navy Commandant, or at least a Navy Deputy Commandant comes to NDA.”

(Maybe they did not want to have a repeat of the similar harrowing “jointmanship” experience (narrated above) when the “pongos” had put them in a spin and made them run from pillar to post).

However, they agreed to pursue the matter with NDA and explore the possibility of having the Navy Week NFPC Meet in NDA.

As they had expected, their efforts were torpedoed by the torpedo of “jointmanship”.

I remembered the Navy Foundation Officer Bearers’ prophetic words (uttered in the bus on the way back from Lonavala): “We will have to wait till NDA has a Navy Commandant, or till at least a Navy Deputy Commandant comes to NDA.”

(At present, NDA has an Air Force Commandant and Army Deputy Commandant).

So, Navy Veterans of Pune who want to celebrate Navy Day in NDA will have to wait till December 2015, when hopefully there will be a Navy Commandant (or Deputy Commandant) in NDA – and we can have the NFPC get-together in style at the picturesque peacock bay, like the unforgettable lunch we had in a few years ago.

Cheers to “jointmanship”.

However, all is not lost – there is a big difference between “organizational jointmanship” and “personal jointmanship”.

You can see glorious examples of genuine jointmanship – albeit at a personal level – in the well-stocked liquor bars of defence services clubs, institutes and officers’ messes, when the “spirits” go in.

Hey, remember this is a spoof, so take it with a pinch of salt, or a gulp of rum, have a laugh, and have good day.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This blog post 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.

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