Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SELF HELP : HOW TO BE HAPPY - THE HAPPINESS EQUATION

HOW TO BE HAPPY

THE HAPPINESS EQUATION
Self Help Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Happiness may be expressed as degree to which you can fulfill your desires.

Happiness may be expressed as the ratio of Desires Fulfilled/Total Number of Desires

Have a look at the “Happiness Equation” below:


                       Number of Desires Fulfilled
Happiness  =   -------------------------------
                          Total Number of Desires


We can increase our happiness by either:

1. Increasing the numerator (Fulfilling Existing Desires)

Or

2. Decreasing the denominator (Decreasing the Desires in Your Mind)

The second option is easier.

How do you achieve this?

It is simple.

Here is a “self help” article I wrote a few years ago on “Desire Management”

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR DESIRES
Philosophical Musings 
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DESIRES and HAPPINESS

Over the years I have realized that two main reasons for unhappiness are:

1. Dissatisfaction caused by unfulfilled desires

and

2. Anxiety that you will not be able to fulfill your desires in the future


There is a close connection between happiness and desire-satisfaction

When you get what you want you feel happy and when you do not get what you want you feel unhappy.

Happiness results from getting what you want  (desire-satisfaction)

and 

Unhappiness results from not getting what you want  (desire-frustration)


Therefore, there are two strategies you can pursue with respect to any given desire:

1. You can either strive to fulfill the desire

or

2. You can try to eliminate the desire


No philosopher has better explored this than Epicurus, a Greek Philosopher of the Third Century BC. 

Epicurus (341-270 BC) espoused a strategy for achieving genuine human happiness by:

Emphasizing on the delights of the mind (over which you have control)

and

De-emphasizing the delights derived from material things (which are beyond your personal control).

This desire management strategy will help you scale down your desires to the basic minimum which can easily be satisfied. 

Yes, you follow this this two phase desire management strategy:

1. Firstly, you scale down your desires to those desires which are feasible for you to fulfill

after doing that:

2. You satisfy those desires. 


This will make you happy since fulfilling a desire creates happiness.


TYPES OF DESIRES

Epicurus distinguishes between three types of desires:

1.      Natural and Necessary Desires

2.      Unnatural and Unnecessary (or Vain and Empty) Desires

3.      Natural but Non-necessary Desires


HOW TO DEAL WITH THE THREE TYPES OF DESIRES

Our tendency to happiness (or unhappiness) depends on how we tackle each of these three types of desires.


NATURAL and NECESSARY DESIRES

Examples of natural and necessary desires include the desires for food, shelter, health, sense of security and basic physical needs, cravings which will necessarily lead to greater pain if they are not fulfilled.
These basic desires are easy to satisfy yet difficult to eliminate since they are hard-wired into human beings naturally and create a sense of well-being when satisfied (eg. “Happiness begins at the stomach” 
Furthermore, natural and necessary desires are necessary for life, and these desires are naturally limited: that is, if one is hungry, it only takes a limited amount of food to fill the stomach, after which the desire is satisfied.
Epicurus says that you should try to satisfy natural and necessary desires.

VAIN and EMPTY DESIRES – UNNATURAL and UNNECESSARY DESIRES

Vain, unnatural and unnecessary desires include desires for excessive powerwealthfame, and other egoistic ambitions which have all the trappings of status and prestige.

Vain desires are difficult to satisfy, in part because they have no natural limit

If one desires wealth or power, no matter how much one gets, it is always possible to get more, and the more one gets, the more one wants.

These desires are not natural to human beings, but inculcated by society and by false beliefs about what we need.

For example, we falsely believe that being very powerful or wealthy or famous will guarantee us happiness

In actual fact, Opulence may attract thieves and other dangers, and Power and Fame may attract sycophants. 

Yes, such vain desires, which are unnatural and unnecessary, are sure to put you into the spiral of unhappiness.

Epicurus says that such vain and empty desires should be eliminated.


NATURAL but NON-NECESSARY DESIRES

An example of a natural but non-necessary desire is the desire for luxury food. 

Although food is needed for survival, one does not need rich expensive gourmet food to survive. 

Thus, despite his hedonism, Epicurus advocates a surprisingly ascetic way of life. 

Although you should not spurn extravagant foods if they happen to be available, becoming dependent on such luxury food (and other luxuries) ultimately leads to unhappiness.

These natural but non-necessary desires are those cravings that are not necessary for life, but give you great happiness

However, should you become dependent on them, such desires can lead to great unhappiness if they are not fulfilled. 

Natural but non-necessary desires are typically recreational in nature and examples of such desires include Sexual Gratification, Friendship, Aesthetic Desires, Entertainment, Social Intercourse, Creative Expression and Intellectual Stimulation, Liberal Arts, Reading, Social Networking, Sports, Travel etc

In the case of natural but non-necessary desires you must approach life like a banquet

Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously.

When a dish is passed to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion.

If a dish should pass you by then enjoy what is already on your plate.
 
And if a dish has not been passed to you yet you must patiently wait for your turn.

In the same way as described above, you must treat your desires in the same way as you deal with food in a sit down dinner banquet.


CONCLUSION

To paraphrase Epicurus:

If you wish to make a man truly happy

Do not give him more money

rather

If you really want to make a man happy

Try to teach him how to reduce his desires


The Epicurean Philosophy of Life recommends that you must strive to do two things:

1. Eliminate the unhappiness caused by unfulfilled desires

and 

2. Reduce the anxiety that occurs because of the fear that your desires will not be fulfilled in the future

Adopting this wise Epicurean philosophy of life will enable you to attain tranquility and enjoy everlasting happiness.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Humor in Uniform - “PORTHOLE STRATEGY”

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

“PORTHOLE STRATEGY”
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


NAVY STYLE “PORTHOLE STRATEGY”

In the 1970’s we had a maverick Supply Officer (of the erstwhile S&S Branch) on our ship.

Those days – Supply & Secretariat (S&S) Branch Officers were the self-styled “experts” on all Secretarial matters like office correspondence.

The ship was not air-conditioned – yes – it was one of the last of the Non-AC ships in the fleet.

Also – in the 1970s – there was no internet, no email etc – so all correspondence was on paper by “snail mail” – via the postal service.

If the ship was sailing – which was most often the case – the letters would arrive in “mail bags” – which would chase the ship – and try to catch the ship in the next port-of-call.

Sometimes – it would take a month or so – or even more – for a letter to reach the ship.

One day – as we arrived in a distant port after a long sailing – a mail bag arrived – and among the mail was a letter from Headquarters asking for some inconsequential details – about which everyone in my department seemed clueless.

So – I went to our Supply Officer to seek advice.

“Do you feel the letter is important?” the Supply Officer asked me.

“No Sir – I don’t think this letter is important – it seems to be a standard ‘duty watch’ letter issued to all ships in which they are asking for some trivial details from all ships about which I am clueless,” I said.

“Is the letter classified?” he asked.

“No Sir,” I said.

“Then – just throw the letter out of the porthole,” he said.

“What? Throw this letter out of the porthole into the sea?” I said, taken aback.

“Yes – throw it out of the porthole. The way we are sailing – they will wait for at least a month or two for a reply – and maybe they will forget about it – or they may send a reminder. So – it will take at least two months before the reminder arrives on board. Then – if and when a reminder letter comes – throw that letter out of the porthole too. By the time the next reminder comes – both you and I will transferred be out of this ship – and our successors will figure out what the letter was all about,” the Supply Officer said.

“Aye Aye, Sir,” I said.

“Check again – I hope the letter is not classified,” the Supply Officer asked me.

“No Sir – this letter is not classified – but what do we do to such inconsequential letters in case they are classified?” I asked.

“If the letter is classified – then file it and forget about it,” he elaborated.

I was impressed by the Supply Officer’s Mantra which encapsulated the gist of how to handle inconvenient/inconsequential letters:

“If it was unclassified, throw it out of the porthole – if it was classified, file and forget.”

I did not have the guts to throw the letter out of the porthole into the sea (and I had my doubts about whether the Supply Officer was being serious or was he just pulling my leg).

So – I buried the letter in a file and forgot about it.

And there was no reminder till I was transferred out of the ship 3 months later.

Soon – all ships were air-conditioned – so this “porthole strategy” probably became obsolete.

Also – the S&S branch was abolished and merged into the Executive Branch (“X” Branch) – so such gems of “secretarial expertise” disappeared.

Of course – a few years after the merger of “X” and “S&S” – when some ex-S&S officers reached high rank and threatened to take over as CNS and CinC (since they were “Executive Officers” now) – in order to obviate this possibility – the “powers-that-be” quickly re-created the S&S Branch in a new avatar – and called it the Logistics Branch – but the new Logistics Branch never had the √©lan of the erstwhile S&S Branch.

And now – with the advent of internet – and leaps in information technology – they may have stopped all paper correspondence  and I wonder how the “porthole strategy” can be applied to digital correspondence – but I am sure that some geniuses must have found a way to do so and now “porthole strategy” must be much easier at the tap of some keyboard keys.


ARMY STYLE “PORTHOLE STRATEGY”

A few years later – I was “posted” to an inter-services organization, dominated by the Army.

One day a letter arrived from Army Headquarters.

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 combat soldiers – and hence “sahayaks” were not to be employed for “demeaning” work and “undignified” tasks.

The letter specified a list of “degrading” tasks for which the use of “sahayaks” was prohibited.

One of the “prohibited tasks” was walking the officer’s dog (dog-walking).

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 letter was marked 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 personally 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 – when I took out my dog for the customary walk – I expected to see my fellow army officers walk their dogs – in compliance with the directive to army officers that “sahayaks” were not to be employed as “dog-walkers” for officers’ dogs.

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, even the Captain’s Cocker Spaniel – all the “army dogs” were being taken for a walk by their respective “sahayaks”.

Only the “navy dog” was being taken for a walk by his Master (yours truly).

It seemed that the army too followed the “porthole strategy” as far as inconvenient orders were concerned. 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story 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 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)
 

Monday, March 30, 2015

WHAT IS THE PAY OF A DEFENCE OFFICER - STORY OF THE “CTC” LIEUTENANT

WHAT IS THE PAY OF A DEFENCE OFFICER ?

How much pay does a Defence Officer get?” someone asked me.

“Why don’t you ask some Defence Officers?” I said.

“Will they tell?

“Of course, they will tell – there is no pay-secrecy in the defence services,” I said.

And suddenly – I remembered the story of the “CTC” Lieutenant.

So – Dear Reader – let me delve deep into my Humor in Uniform Archives and pull out this hilarious “memoir” for you to enjoy, have a laugh and think about.

This story happened 37 years ago  in the late 1970s.

I had first posted this hilarious Naval Yarn in September 2013.

Read on:

STORY OF THE “CTC” LIEUTENANT
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE “CTC” LIEUTENANT  a spoof by VIKRAM KARVE

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

“1100,” I said.

Well, this happened around 37 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, those days, Lieutenants started off with a basic pay of Rs. 1100 with an increment of Rs. 50 every year and we remained Lieutenants for 8 long years. After this long wait, we became Lieutenant Commanders with a pay scale of Rs. 1450-50-1800 --- Of course, now, with the Ajai Vikram Singh (AVS) Cadre Review bonanza in 2006, 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 of Rupees 1100-50-1550.

The gentleman had asked me how much pay I got.

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

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

“Of course I know Lieutenant ‘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 Lieutenant ‘G’ – how much pay does he get?”

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

“Are you sure Lieutenant ‘G’ gets only 1100 Rupees a month? Lieutenant ‘G’ told me that he gets much more pay that that – are you sure he doesn’t get more?” the man asked.

“How can he get more pay than me? Sir, I told you that Lieutenant ‘G’ is my coursemate  and like me  Lieutenant ‘G’ is also a recently promoted Lieutenant. In fact  Lieutenant ‘G’ got promoted two months after me since I gained more seniority in our Sub Lieutenant training courses – so surely  Lieutenant ‘G’ cannot get more pay than me.”

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

5000 rupees per month? That is just not possible,” I said, “Even an Admiral does not get that much.”

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

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

“So Lieutenant ‘G’ is telling lies?” the man said.

“Well – I may not call it telling lies – but obviously – Lieutenant ‘G’ is exaggerating his pay quite a bit,” I said.

“He told me all lies,” the man said again, looking downcast.

I looked at the man and asked him, “Sir – please tell me  why are you asking me all this about Lieutenant ‘G’?”

“There was a marriage proposal for my daughter,” he said.

“There is a marriage proposal from Lieutenant ‘G’ for your daughter?” I asked.

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

“So – I believe that you are planning to get married?” I asked him.

“Not really  why?” he said.

“Well  I met your prospective father-in-law,” I said  and I 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,” Lieutenant ‘G’ said.

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

“He told you that?”

“Yes.”

“And what did you say?” asked Lieutenant ‘G’ – with an anxious look on his face.

“Well  the gentleman asked me my salary – and I told him it was 1100 rupees a month,” I said.

“Are you crazy?” Lieutenant ‘G’ exclaimed.

“Why? Isn’t our pay 1100?” I said.

“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 Rupees? Even if you add the DA  and all other allowances  your pay will not be more than 1500 Rupees  isn’t it?” I said.

“What about the monetary value of all the other benefits and perks we get?” Lieutenant ‘G’ said.

“Other benefits and perks?” I asked.

Lieutenant ‘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 actual 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 – you never drink liquor. Don’t tell me you included the difference in the cost of booze?” I asked, aghast.

“Of course I did  the differential between market value and what you pay is tantamount to notional salary  isn’t it?” he said matter-of-factly.

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

Lieutenant ‘G’ looked at me said, “Obviously I did. 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 Lieutenant ‘G’: “Since you are so money-minded  instead of the Navy  you should have joined the Army.”

“Army? Why?” he asked me.

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

“You have a point. How come I never thought of that?” Lieutenant ‘G’ said.

“And unlike in the Navy  where you have to use your own vehicle  in the Army you get free transport. Think of the cost of the petrol...” I said.

“That is true too...” Lieutenant ‘G’ mumbled.

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

Maybe Lieutenant ‘G’ was realizing that with so many extra perks like sahayaks, transport, et al  he would have been better off as an Army Officer  and he was regretting that he had joined the Navy instead of the Army.


EPILOGUE

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

It was only then that I understood what Lieutenant ‘G’ was talking about.

Yes  Lieutenant ‘G’ was way ahead of his times.

Later  in his illustrious naval career  Lieutenant ‘G’ distinguished himself as a successful businessman in uniform.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story 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 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)