Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Humor in Uniform : The New Age “Metrosexual” Soldier

Humor in Uniform

Meaning of the word Metrosexual” – a usually urban heterosexual male given to enhancing his personal appearance by fastidious grooming, beauty treatments, and fashionable clothes (merriam-webster)

METROSEXUAL IN UNIFORM
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened more than 30 years ago  in the mid 1980’s  when I was a newly appointed “Directing Staff” (DS) at IAT Pune.

I had barely settled down in my new job  when a paper landed on my table.

I had been appointed “Chairman” of the IAT CSD Canteen.

In actual fact  this was no great appointment.

This was a “bum job” – a sundry duty I had to do in addition to my primary job.

And the high-sounding “Chairman” meant nothing – it was IAT parlance for what we in the Navy called “Officer-in-Charge”.

But – I was in seventh heaven  because I had never been appointed “Chairman” before.

Power went to my head – and I immediately decided to “take charge” – and show off my power of command.

I decided to pay an immediate visit to my new “empire”.

I summoned the Canteen Manager  an Army JCO

I peremptorily ordered him to get the CSD Canteen opened for my visit.

“Sir  why don’t you come in the evening  when the canteen opens?” he suggested.

“No. I want to take rounds of the canteen right now. And I want to speak to all the canteen staff,” I said firmly – and then I asked the Canteen JCO: “Do you have any problems?”

“No Problems, Sir. I will summon the staff. We will be ready to receive you in 15 minutes,” the Canteen Manager said.

15 minutes later  when I reached the CSD Canteen  located in a dilapidated Nissan Hut  I found the motley canteen staff assembled there.

The Canteen Manager JCO introduced them to me.

I gave them the usual “motivational” pep talk (which they must have heard ad nauseam from every incoming “Chairman”).

“Is there anything urgent?” I asked the Canteen Manager.

“Sir  the monthly demand has to go by tomorrow to the CSD depot. I have already prepared the demand list. I will get the demand list to your office for your signature in the afternoon. If you sign it today – I will send someone to the depot first thing in the morning tomorrow,” he said.

“Why bring it to my office? I will sign the demand right now. That’s how we work in the Navy – we do things right here and right now’...” I bullshitted the JCO.

The Canteen Manager JCO pulled out a huge list from the cupboard.

I was taken aback on seeing the huge demand list  so I asked the Canteen Manager: “Why have you made such a huge list...? Is this a bloody military canteen or a departmental store...?”

The Canteen Manager did not say anything.

I started reading the list.

Then  I took out my pen from my pocket  and  I started striking out items from the list with strokes of my pen

“Sir  what are you doing...?” the JCO asked, looking alarmed.

“Why have you ordered so many cosmetics...?” I asked him.

“Cosmetics...? Sir...?” he asked, looking clueless.

“Hair Dye, Fairness Cream, Body Lotions, Beauty Soap, Lipstick, Nail Polish, Perfumes…? What the hell is all this...?” I thundered.

“Sir – these beauty products are in high demand,” the JCO said.

“Are you telling me that soldiers are using fairness creams and colouring their hair with hair-dye...?” I shouted.

“Sir  some officers…” the JCO mumbled.

I looked at the JCO and said firmly: “All ‘faujis’ – yes – all ‘faujis’  officers and soldiers – all ‘faujis’ are supposed to be tough masculine men – we do not want effeminate metrosexuals in the defence services – military men are not supposed to use makeup or cosmetics. Is that clear...?”

“Yes, Sir,” the JCO said, “but the ladies…”

“What ladies…? This applies to military wives too – both ‘faujis’ and ‘faujans’ are supposed to lead simple lives of thrift and frugality. Didn’t I tell you before – this is a bloody military canteen – not a fancy beauty store…” I shouted at the confused Canteen Manager JCO.

I continued to strike off all the “cosmetic” items from the list  while the Canteen Manager watched on.

“Sir  Sir – why have you removed Hair Fixer’ from the demand list...?” he said, looking alarmed.

“Isn’t ‘hair fixer’ a cosmetic...?” I asked.

“No, Sir – it is like a wax  Sir – to put on your beard – so you can tie it up…” the JCO said.

I stroked my handsome full-set Navy beard – and said to the Army JCO: “Look at me  I have a proper full-set flowing beard – I never use ‘hair fixer’ – and  I don’t tie up my beard…” 

“Sir – you are in the Navy – in the Army…” the JCO stammered, looking anxious.

He had a point.

Whereas we in the Navy kept our beards free-flowing – the ‘Pongos’ who kept beards seemed to tie up their beards in some sort of net.

So  in the interest of jointmanship and interservice camaraderie – I said to the Canteen JCO: “Okay, okay – if you feel ‘hair fixer’ is essential – let ‘hair fixer’ be there on the list…” 

“Thank you, Sir,” the JCO said, looking relieved.

I observed that the CSD canteen staff was looking at me.

I believe in ‘participative’ management – so I decided to involve all the staff. 

I gave the list to the Canteen Manager.

Then – I said to all my canteen staff:

“Come on  all of you – go through the demand list and strike out all cosmetics and beauty products – and also remove all items which are not essential. We should have just one type of every item – for example – we should order just one brand of soap  which is essential for hygiene – soldiers have no need for beauty soaps – do you understand – just have one type of every item which is essential for faujis – preferably the cheapest item which faujis can afford – I want no fancy or luxury items in this canteen…”

Everyone used their initiative – and ‘non-essential’ items were struck of the list with a vengeance – till the demand was reduced to just one page.

“Sir  what about the ‘beauty products’ we already have stocked in the canteen? Should we throw them out and write them off...?” a ‘highly motivated’ Fauji Johnnie asked.

“No – we cannot throw out items in stock. So you keep selling these cosmetics and beauty products till stocks last – but there is to be no further procurement of cosmetic items,” I said.

The stocks of ‘beauty products’ did not last long.

The first beauty product to be sold out was Hair Dye.

I came to know of this during our customary mid-morning Tea Break.

A ‘Cavalry’ Colonel with suspiciously black hair approached me.

The Colonel complained to me that there was no hair-dye in the CSD canteen.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
1. This blog post 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 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)

Revised Version of my article METROSEXUAL SOLDIER written by me on Feb 20, 2015 and posted online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/02/humor-in-uniform-metrosexual-soldier.html  and later on May 17, 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/should-soldiers-use-cosmetics.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/metrosexual-in-uniform-military-humor.html
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