Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Humor in Uniform : Art of “Cleanship”

Humor in Uniform

“CLEANSHIP”

In the civilian world – the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) was launched on the 2nd of October 2014.

But – in the Navy – this initiative is going on since time immemorial – only – it is known by a different name – it is called “cleanship” – and – in the Navy – all ships, shore establishments (stone frigates) and Dockyards are required to be kept spotlessly clean. 

Also – in the Navy – an Officer is supposed to be a “Jack of all Trades – and Master of One”

The one “Trade” in which you are supposed to be a “Master” is your professional job at sea and ashore (what they call “core competency” in the corporate world and industry) – but beyond that – you can be tasked with anything and everything – including “cleanship”.

So – in addition to your professional “tradecraft” (your primary duty in which you are supposed to be a “Master”) – in the Navy – you are given a lot of “secondary duties” – which you are supposed to perform to the best of your ability.

And – one of the most important “secondary duties” at which all officers and sailors are adept at is “cleanship”.

Like there is humor in all Naval activities – there are plenty of hilarious “cleanship” stories.

Let me tell you one such “cleanship” story from my wonderful Navy Days – this happened many years ago...

ART OF CLEANSHIP
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

During my long service in the Navy especially in Naval Dockyards  I have observed that it is easy to create a junkyard (or garbage dump) anywhere you want to.

All you have to do is to dump some trash at the selected site for a few days.

Soon  others will follow suit  and they will start dumping their garbage, junk, litter, and debris (whatever they want to get rid of) at the same place  and in due course you will have a full fledged garbage dump or junkyard in place over there.

This is exactly what happened in a Naval Dockyard.

A desperate Manager was conducting a frantic “full-night overtime” last minute “cleanship” of his department workshops for a sudden surprise VIP visit the next morning.

All the junk, scrap, litter and debris removed from the shop-floors were meticulously piled up in a newly created trash-heap.

The Foreman was careful to ensure that this newly created junkyard (garbage dump”) was strategically located well away from his department.

The Foreman believed in the “cleanship” dictum: 

“Never keep your shit in front of your doorstep. Shift your shit in front of someone else’s doorstep”

(The word “shit” is used metaphorically to denote all types of garbage, rubbish, junk, debris, trash etc)

That is why the innovative Foreman had ingeniously created the new garbage dump near the entrance of a Naval Unit which did not belong to the Dockyard  though the unit was located inside the premises of the dockyard.

The VIP visit was a success  and the Top Brass complimented the Manager on the excellent cleanliness of his workshops.

Meanwhile  the newly created garbage dump started growing in size – since everyone nearby conveniently started using it to dump their garbage there  rather than carry it to conservancy bins located some distance away.

Some construction work was in progress nearby  and workers found it convenient to dump debris here at this newly created garbage dump”  rather than cart it all the way to the officially designated debris dumping site.

In a matter of days  the place looked like a full-fledged junkyard  with all sorts of rubbish, waste, junk, scrap, litter and debris heaped up in a huge pile of garbage.

I am sure a few officers  including me  must have noticed the trash heap  but in typical mind-your-own-business mentality they must have thought to themselves: “It is not my job to clear garbage  so why should I bother about it”.

(Of course  this did not prevent them from conveniently dumping their own garbage in that “junkyard”)

One day  the Navy Unit adjoining the “garbage dump” was visited by an Admiral from Headquarters  Rear Admiral “X” – who was the direct boss of the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the unit.

The Admiral was surprised to see the huge trash-heap near the entrance gate of the Naval Unit  and he was appalled.  

Rear Admiral “X” told the OIC that he did not remember seeing this “garbage dump” in front of his unit – and the Admiral asked the OIC who had created this huge “junkyard” right next to the entrance of the Naval Unit. 

The OIC was clueless.

The furious Admiral ordered the OIC to remove the garbage pile immediately and render a completion report by evening.

The OIC “officially” asked Yard Conservancy Services to remove the garbage dump.

Yard Conservancy Services “officially” told the OIC to “hop”.

Yard Conservancy Services said that this new junkyard did not fall under their jurisdiction  as it was not in their official list of garbage dumps.

The hapless OIC then personally went across to Manager Yard Services and pleaded before him.

“Okay  I will have the debris cleared next week when the scrap dealer comes to take away the scrap,” the Yard Services Manager said.

“No, No, my Boss, Rear Admiral “X” wants a completion report by today evening. Please help me…” the OIC was on the verge of tears.

Seeing the pitiable state of the OIC  the Yard Services Manager decided to help him.

But the real reason was that the Yard Services Manager wanted to earn some brownie points with Rear Admiral “X”  who was a rising star in the Navy.

“Okay  I will relocate the garbage dump to a temporary place till the scrap dealer comes next week,” the Yard Services Manager assured the OIC.

“Thanks,” the OIC said gratefully.

“And you don’t bother about making the completion report to your boss. I know Rear Admiral “X” very well – I will personally make the completion report to him once the job is done,” the Yard Services Manager told the OIC of the unit.

The “garbage dump” was relocated in the evening  after working hours.

By a strange irony  the garbage pile was dumped near the entrance of the very same department which had created the “junkyard” in the first place. 

The new “garbage dump” was 10 times the size of the original trash-pile.

On seeing the huge “garbage dump” in front of his workshop – and – recognizing some junk which had emanated from his workshop  the wizened Foreman laughed  and he said to himself: 

“If you shift your shit in front of someone else’s doorstep – you may find even greater shit in front of your doorstep

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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Disclaimer:
1. This 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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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a repost of my story DOCKYARDS AND JUNKYARDS posted by me online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/06/humor-in-uniform-dockyards-and-junkyards.html
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