Thursday, March 5, 2015

Humor in Uniform - OLQ and LLQ - Story of the Officer and His Wife

HUMOUR IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM

OLQ and LLQ
Hilarious Memories of My Wonderful Navy Life
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Defence Services Officers are supposed to be Gentlemen.

Accordingly  wives of Defence Service Officers are supposed to be Ladies.

All Military Officers are required to possess OLQ (OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES)

But do all Wives of all Military Officers display LLQ (LADY LIKE QUALITIES) ?

Let me delve deep into my Humor in Uniform archives and pull out this story for you to enjoy and ponder over:

LLQ – LADY LIKE QUALITIES (A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE)

Part 1 – THE OFFICER

“Can you carry a small packet and deliver it to my wife?” the officer asked me.

“Sure Sir,” I said.

“Thanks. Just some Ayurvedic Medicines, that’s all. I’ll come on board your ship tomorrow and give it to you,” he said.

“Sure Sir, no hurry, we are leaving day after tomorrow morning,” I said.

The officer was a friend of my ex-shipmate who had been posted to Cochin a few months ago and with whom I was having a drink in the Navy Club at Cochin (now Kochi).

The officer had joined us for a drink  my ex-shipmate had introduced me  and when the officer came to know that my ship was going to Bombay (now Mumbai) he requested to me to carry a packet and deliver it to his wife in Bombay.

Since my ex-shipmate was calling him “Sir” – I too addressed him as “Sir” – and when he came on board the next day  I noticed that though he wore two stripes of a Lieutenant like me, he had the green 9 year long service ribbon.

(Those days it took 3 years to become a Lieutenant  and then one remained a Lieutenant for 8 long years  so there were “junior” Lieutenants like me  and “senior” Lieutenants like him).

Next afternoon just before lunchtime, the officer came to my cabin onboard my ship and gave me the packet.

He also gave me a slip of paper on which was written his home address in NOFRA.

“I am stuck here in Cochin for the next 3 months doing a bloody course,” he complained, sipping his beer.

“Cochin is a lovely place,” I said.

“I know – but my wife is in Bombay – and, as they say, there is no life without wife,” he remarked.

“Sir, we are stopping over for two days at Goa and we plan to reach Bombay by Friday, so I will deliver your packet on Saturday or Sunday,” I said.

“No problem – I have already posted a letter to my wife in the morning about the packet,” he said.

(35 years ago, when this happened, writing letters was the common mode of communication, because junior officers did not have landline phones at home so a “trunk call” was inconvenient, telegrams were for emergencies and mobile phones had not yet been invented).

Part 2 – THE OFFICER’S WIFE

On Saturday evening I rang the bell of a flat on the 6th floor of a high-rise building that housed Married Accommodation for Lieutenants.

A beautiful young lady opened the door.

I introduced myself.

“Yes, yes, do come in,” she said in a mellifluous voice, “I got my husband’s letter two days ago – I have been expecting you today.”

“Sorry Ma’am, I could not come in the morning…” I said  and I handed her the packet her husband had sent from Cochin.

“Oh, come on – it was so nice of you to get the packet – do sit down – I will get you something to drink – what will you have?” she said.

“Just a glass of water…” I said  and I sat down on the sofa.

I looked at the lady as she opened the fridge  took out a bottle of water  poured some in a glass  and brought the glass in a tray towards me.

I was impressed by the way she carried herself Рshe had so much élan, grace and poise.

She excused herself, went into the kitchen and then she came out and asked me: “Come on – have a drink – the bar is over there – and then we will have dinner – you like chicken, don’t you – or are you a vegetarian?”

“Ma’am – please don’t take the trouble…”

“What trouble? There’s no trouble at all – my maid will do the cooking while we talk – in fact it is you who have taken the trouble to deliver the packet and the least I can do is to offer you a meal,” she said.

I felt uncomfortable having a hard drink alone in her company  so I asked for a soft drink  and she had one too.

I think she realized that I was feeling a bit awkward  so she tried to put me at ease.

We talked  we had dinner – and the evening passed in a haze of delight.

As I rode my scooter back to ship I thought about her – she was a perfect navy wife – her social graces, her etiquette, her polish, her refinement, her poise – well, it is difficult for me to describe everything about her in words  so I will just say that she had all the “Lady Like Qualities”.

Part 3 – THE OFFICER and HIS WIFE

A few months later I ran into her in the US Club Library.

“Good evening, Ma’am,” I wished her.

“Oh, hello – how are you?” she said politely.

Suddenly  her husband came in.

He looked at me – he recognized me  and he smiled, “Hi.”

“Hello, Sir – welcome back to Mumbai,” I said.

“Come – why don’t you join us for a drink – let’s go to the bar,” he said.

“Sure Sir,” I said.

While we walked down to the bar  I noticed that the lady was giving me a rather curious look.

I smiled at her.

“Why are you calling my husband “Sir”  you are senior to him  aren’t you?” she asked me.

“No Ma’am – your husband is senior to me,” I said.

“Really? Are you sure? I thought that you are senior to my husband, she said.

“Of course I am sure – your husband is senior to me,” I said.

That is surprising. You look so old  that when you came home the other day  I thought that you were senior to my husband,” she said.

I did not know what to say.

I certainly did not look that “old” as if I were an elderly senior citizen.

But with my copious beard  bulky body size and rather podgy physique  I certainly looked older than my age.

So I said, “ Yes, Ma’am – you are right – I do look a bit older than my age and many persons do think that I am more senior than I actually am – in fact  once a senior Lieutenant once mistook me for a Lieutenant Commander and was surprised when he saw me in uniform next morning.”

“Oh – all that doesn’t matter,” remarked her husband, the senior Lieutenant.

It may not have mattered to him – but as far as his wife was concerned  it was obvious that my inter-se seniority with her husband did matter to her.

The moment she realized that I was junior to her husband  her demeanor towards me changed drastically  as compared to the courteous obsequiousness on the day I had visited her home when she thought that I was senior to her husband.

But now  the moment she realized that I was junior to her husband – she behaved so cold towards me – the disdain with which she ignored my presence – her scornful vibes – all this made me feel uncomfortable  and I excused myself from their company after a drink  saying that I had to go somewhere.

On my way back I had a big laugh – it was evident that her “Lady Like Qualities” – her LLQ – was quite selective.

Yes – she certainly had selective LLQ.

In fact – to bluntly – this Naval Officers Wife was lacking in Lady Like Qualities(LLQ)

Her husband may have been a “Gentleman” but she certainly did not display the attributes of a Lady

Epilogue – LADY LIKE QUALITIES (LLQ)

THE NAVY OFFICERS WIFE 
(Hope this is applicable to Army/Air Force Officer’s Wives as well)

Here is quote from a NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association) booklet which encapsulates some prudent advice for a Naval Officers Wife:

“You dont wear his (your husband’s) stripes ... there is no such thing as a ‘Senior Wife’. There are Senior Officers. They have wives. There are Junior Officers and some of them have wives. All wives are ladies ... You will not fawn over others and not expect others to fawn over you. You will be yourself. And your own manners, breeding and natural charm will shine through leaving you with no need for any borrowed stripes or other borrowed plumage”

I have seen many such elegant navy wives who were perfect ladies – military wives who had excellent LADY LIKE QUALITIES or LLQ

Do tell us if you have seen military wives with perfect LLQ?

And do tell us some hilarious episodes about military officerwives sans LLQ.

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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