Friday, February 19, 2016

Humor in Uniform – Poached Eggs

Humor in Uniform

POACHED EGGS
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

A few days ago – a fellow foodie uploaded a picture of a ‘poached egg’ on Facebook. 


Poached Egg

This reminded me of a hilarious ‘poached eggs’ anecdote in the wardroom of a frontline navy warship many years ago – in the 1980’s. 

When I joined the Navy in the 1970’s – warships were classified into 3 types – and – this made it necessary to have separate ‘streams’ for training.

Accordingly – Officers and Sailors would be assigned to one of the ‘streams’ and be trained for selected equipment in that ‘stream’ – and appointed on ships of relevant stream for which they were trained.

The 3 basic ‘streams’ were:

1. “A” Stream comprising the latest “Western Origin” Ships like Leander Class Frigates.

2. “B” Stream comprising older “Western Origin” Ships.

3. “C” Stream comprising the latest Soviet (Russian) acquisition ships.


“A” Stream Brand New “Western Origin” Ships were comfortable Leander Class Frigates of British Design. As you know – the ‘British Navy’ is called the ‘Royal Navy’ – and “A” Stream Ships were “Royal” too – with snobbish stiff-upper-lip “Royal Culture” and consequent ‘class distinctions’ between Officers and Sailors.

On the other hand – “C” Stream Ships of “Eastern Origin” (Soviet Union/Russia) with their Socialist Egalitarian Design were comparatively ‘Spartan’ as far as ‘creature comforts’ were concerned – the focus being on densely ‘packing in’ maximum equipment – with lesser emphasis on ‘creature comforts’ and cozy habitability.

Life on “C” Stream ships was austere and grueling as compared to “A” Stream ships.

“C” Stream Officers enviously called “A” Stream Ships as “Hotel Ships”.

Another advantage of “A” Stream Ships was that – those days – “A” Stream “Western Origin” ships were based at Mumbai (then called Bombay) – whereas most “C” Stream “Eastern Origin” Ships were based at Visakhapatnam (Vizag) – which – those days – in the 1970’s – was a “one street town”

(Of course – now – Visakhapatnam is a modern vibrant metropolis and a beautiful city).

I was lucky to be allotted “A” Stream – so I enjoyed myself thoroughly on my first two ships – both were comfortable Frigates of which were based in Mumbai.

After a few years – I was expecting to be appointed on a “A” Stream ship – but someone in NHQ got some crazy ideas about “cross-pollination” and “cross-fertilization” – so – I landed up on a “C” Stream ship.

My ship was a frontline Destroyer – at that time – the most powerful and modern warship in the Navy – with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment.

Of course – though not as austere as earlier “C” Stream ships – my new ship was not as comfortable as her contemporary “A” Stream “Hotel Ships”.

My new ship was “first of its class” – built in the Soviet Union (Russia) – and – in the true spirit of egalitarian socialist “comradeship” – there was no separate galley (kitchen) for officers.

So – food for officers was cooked in the common galley along with sailors’ food – and it had to be carried by stewards all the way down the alleyway to the wardroom which was quite far away.

Hence – the stewards had a tough time – especially while sailing – when the full complement of officers would descend in the wardroom for meals.

To make matters worse – our ship was designated “Flag Ship” most of the time – with an additional complement of “Fleet Staff’ also eating in the wardroom.

Thus – the wardroom – which was already strained catering to the ship’s officers – had to provide for supernumeraries as well.

During one such sailing – we were sitting for breakfast – and I noticed a new Commander from the Fleet Staff – he seemed to have been newly posted to the Fleet Staff.

I looked at the Commander.

He seemed to be a “stiff-upper-lip” Royal Navy Style “Sea-Doll” – certainly from the “A” Stream.

The steward asked us: “Eggs to order, Sir…?”

Now – during sailing – in view of the common ship’s galley from where the food had to be carried – generally – there were just two choices in “eggs to order” – Boiled Eggs or Masala Omelette.

I ordered my customary “Omelette”.

The Commander said: “Poached Eggs”.

I smiled to myself: “Poached Eggs – Ha Ha. And on this ship…?”

This guy was certainly a snobbish type from the “A” Stream – maybe he had even commanded one of those “Hotel Ships”.

After some time – the steward placed an “Omelette” in front of me (as I had ordered) – and – to my amusement – the steward placed an “Omelette” in front of the “Sea-Doll” Commander too.

The Commander looked angrily at the Steward and said: “I ordered ‘Poached Eggs’ – not an ‘Omelette’ – take this ‘Omelette’ away and get me ‘Poached Eggs’…”

The Steward took the “Omlette” away.

After some time, another Steward placed Two ‘Boiled Eggs’ in front of the snooty Commander.

“I don’t want bloody ‘Boiled Eggs’ – I ordered ‘Poached Eggs’…” the Commander shouted at the Steward.

This was going to be fun – and – there was still time for “Both Watches” – so – I ordered another ‘Omelette’ – and waited in eager anticipation – for events to unfold.

After a long wait – a Steward landed up with two “Bulls Eye” Soft ‘Fried Eggs’ – and placed them in front of the Commander.

The astounded Commander had a look at the ‘Fried Eggs’.

“What the hell is this…? These are ‘Fried Eggs’. Don’t you know what ‘Poached Eggs’ are…? Call the bloody ‘Chief Steward’…” the ‘high and mighty’ Commander barked at the hapless Steward.

The Chief Steward duly landed up.

The snobby Commander asked the Chief Steward: “Don’t your Stewards and Cooks know what a ‘Poached Egg’ is…? I have ordered ‘Poached Eggs’ – and these buggers got me an ‘Omelette’ – then ‘Boiled Eggs’ – and – then – ‘Fried Eggs’ – they are giving me all types of Eggs – except ‘Poached Eggs’…”

“Sir – we have a common galley…” the Chief Steward tried to explain.

But – the ‘stuck-up’ Commander shouted at him: “Don’t give me bullshit – just get me ‘Poached Eggs’ – do you understand…?”

I finished my second ‘Omlette’ – and coffee – but the ‘Poached Eggs’ had still not arrived.

“Both Watches” was piped – so I excused myself – and left the wardroom.

I do not know what happened after that – whether the snooty Commander got his ‘Poached Eggs’ or not.

But – a hilarious thing happened next morning.

The moment the snobbish Commander arrived and sat down for breakfast – a Steward opened the fridge – and took out a pair of cold ‘Poached Eggs’ (prepared the previous night).

The cold soggy ‘Poached Eggs’ were placed in front of the snobbish Commander.

I looked at the stale cold crumpled soggy ‘Poached Eggs’ – they looked most ‘unappetizing’ – to say the least.

The ‘high and mighty’ Commander looked at the hideous shriveled cold ‘Poached Eggs’ – and from the expression of nausea on his face – it looked as if he was going to throw up.

“Take these horrible ‘Poached Eggs’ away – and get me an ‘Omelette’ …” the Commander ordered the Steward.

I smiled to myself – as my “C” Stream friends used to say – “C” Stream is a great leveler.

But one thing was sure – ‘camaraderie’ on “C” Stream Ships was much better. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This fiction story is a spoof, satire, 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.

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