Thursday, March 10, 2016

Humor in Uniform : Scholar Warrior

Humor in Uniform 


Whenever someone says that there is a shortage of officers in the Army – I remember this story of the “Scholar Warrior”...


“SCHOLAR WARRIOR” 
An Unforgettable Character I Met – In and Out of Uniform
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


PROLOGUE

In the Academia – I have seen self-styled “Scholars”

In the Military – I have seen self-styled “Warriors”

And – among Military Veterans – I have seen self-styled “Scholar Warriors”

Let me tell you the story of one such “Scholar Warrior”

Well – actually – it will be more apt to call him a “Warrior Scholar” – since – at first – he was a “Warrior” – and he turned into “Scholar” much later – a ‘warrior-turned-scholar’ to be precise.

But – if you want me to put it bluntly – like most “Scholar Warriors” you see proliferating like hobgoblins and pontificating on TV debates – it would be more accurate to describe him as a “pseudo- warrior” turned “pseudo-scholar” – because – neither had he fought a war – nor had he achieved any earth-shaking scholarly accomplishments.

Let’s skip the semantics and the gobbledygook – we will call him a “Scholar Warrior” – and get on with the story.


THE STORY OF THE “SCHOLAR WARRIOR” – A Spoof by Vikram Karve


Circa 1992 – The “Warrior”

“Sir – you teach very ‘high-funda’ stuff…” the Major said, sidling up to me in the bar.

“Well – military technology is getting high-tech…” I said.

“Sir – that may be for others – but Sir – please but have mercy on me – I am a simple ‘Cavalry’ officer…” he pleaded.

“Cavalry…? Don’t tell me they are sending officers from one of those ceremonial horse regiments for this ‘Technical Staff Course’…” I said.

“No Sir – my ‘cavalry’ regiment has got tanks – but I am a ‘pure warrior’…”

“Ha Ha – ‘Pure Warrior’ – what do you mean by that…?”

“Sir – I am not interested in learning…”

“You are not interested in learning…? Then why have you come for this course…?”

“Sir – this course is good for my career – it is a ‘criteria’ course for promotion and getting good appointments…”

“Oh – so you want to qualify the course without studying….?”

“Exactly, Sir – you have really understood my problem…”

“So what do you want me to do…? I certainly cannot lower the standard of training or evaluation…”

“No Sir – please maintain your standard – many others are keen on learning – but I want to qualify with the ‘bare minimum’ effort…”

“Ha Ha – ‘bare minimum effort’…” I laughed, “Do you know – we have an expression in the Navy – “bare minimum inescapable requirement’…”

“Yes, Sir – you have put it in a nutshell – ‘bare minimum inescapable requirement’…” the Major said.

The ‘Pure Warrior’ qualified the course with the ‘bare minimum inescapable requirement’…


Circa 2002 – The “Scholar”

“Hello, Sir – what a pleasant surprise to see you here…”

I recognized him at once – he was the same ‘Pure Warrior’ – who had been my ‘student’ around 10 years ago.

“Well – I am even more surprised to see you here – on the University Campus…” I said.

“Sir – I am on study leave…”

“What…? You…? You have taken ‘study leave’…? Don’t tell me that you have suddenly developed an interest in ‘learning’…?”

“No Sir – I am least interested in studying – but I was forced to take ‘study leave’…”

“You were forced to take ‘study leave’ – that is amazing – in the Navy it is almost impossible to get ‘study leave’ due to the perpetual shortage of officers – isn’t there a shortage of officers in the Army…?”

“Sir – there is a shortage of junior officers – but there is a surplus of Colonels…”

“Really…? But how can you be forced to take ‘study leave’…?”

“Not really forced at gunpoint, Sir – but I was ‘persuaded’ to volunteer. One day my Boss called me – and he told me to apply for ‘study leave’. When I expressed my reluctance – my Boss said to me:

‘See – you have finished your command tenure and you still have two years to go before your next promotion board. I have found out that – till now – your ACRs are good – so – if you take ‘study leave’ – then – your average will remain the same – since there will be no ACRs rendered during your ‘study leave’ – so you are likely to be promoted. But – if you are adamant – and you refuse to apply for ‘study leave’ – then you may land up getting superseded. Try to understand the situation – since there are surplus Colonels – they may post you anywhere – in some insignificant appointment – under some guy who does not like ‘Cavalry’ Officers – and you may be ‘written off’ – and that will be the end of your career. So – for your own good – it is best for you to go on ‘study leave’. Why don’t you select a course in Pune for your ‘study leave’ – so that you can enjoy a two years paid holiday in your hometown…’

So – I chose this easy course – where I would have to study the least…”

“Bare Minimum Inescapable Requirement…?” I joked.

“Yes, Sir…” he laughed.


Circa 2012 – The “Scholar Warrior”

A few years after I had retired – I was invited to attend a Seminar.

There – I was stunned to see my old friend – my ex-student – the “pure warrior” – who I had taught 20 years ago – and who I had later met 10 years ago when he was a “scholar” – when he was on ‘study leave’ in the University. 

He seemed delighted to meet me.

“Hello, Sir – I am so happy to see you here. Sir – it is great honour for me to speak before my ‘Guru’…” he said.

“You are speaking at this seminar…?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, Sir – I am the 3rd speaker, Sir…” he said – and he handed me a copy of the seminar programme he was carrying in his hand.

“That’s fantastic – it seems the ‘study leave’ has turned you into a ‘scholar’…” I said.

“Not at all, Sir – I joined back after my ‘study leave’ – but – sadly – I was ‘passed over’ for promotion – so I quit the army – and I was looking for a job in the civilian world – when my I met a Professor who had taught me during ‘study leave’ – he suggested that I do my Ph.D. – and join the ‘Academia’ – where I could enjoy a cool life – and could keep ‘working’ till 65 – or even 70…”

“Ph.D…? Don’t tell me you are doing your Ph.D. …?” I said, taken aback.

“Sir – in fact – I have just completed my Ph.D. a few days ago…” he said.

He handed me his visiting card.

I read his visiting card.

He had written his name as: Col (Dr) ***** (Retd)

He had become a “Scholar Warrior”…


EPILOGUE

I laughed to myself at the quirk of fate…

My reluctant student had become a “Scholar Warrior” – and me – well – I have been reduced to being a “Keyboard Warrior”…

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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. This Story and 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.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is a re-post of my story THE SCHOLAR WARRIOR written by me one year ago in the year 2015 and posted by me online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 31 August 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/humor-in-uniform-scholar-warrior.html
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