Monday, February 20, 2017

Humor in Uniform – Spoken Reputation – Hilarious Memories of My Unforgettable Navy Days

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

This morning – I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from a Navy Coursemate – a close friend during my Navy Days.

We had first met 40 years ago on the train to Cochin (Kochi) on our way to the Naval Academy for our basic Navy Training (For the B&D aka Basic and Divisional Course)

Later – though we did not serve on the same ships as shipmates – my coursemate and I – we served together in the same stations/organisations at various places  in New Delhi (where we were Messmates in the SP Marg Officers Mess), in Vizag, in Pune and in Mumbai. 

From the very first day we met – 40 years ago – we hit it off well – and we became good friends – and – I loved his cheerful and optimistic positive approach – and – like me – he loved his evening pegs of Rum-Pani too.

In our Naval careers – while fell by the wayside” – my coursemate achieved Flag Rank. 

After retirement – we just met a few times – at our children’s weddings (and coursemates’ kids’ weddings) – and – at a Navy Veterans’ Meet a few years ago when he retired.

However – thereafter – he was absent for most Navy Veterans’ Meets – and we lost contact.

So – I was most happy to hear his voice on the mobile phone. 

My coursemate told me that he had been cleaning up his books/documents – when he found a my letter (written by me to him around 12 years ago) – he read out my handwritten letter congratulating him on being appointed as the Commanding Officer of a premier Navy training establishment (a stone frigate). 

He told me that on seeing and reading my letter – he was overcome by nostalgic emotion – so he had called me up to read out the letter to me. 

We spoke for around 30 minutes – and – we decided to meet up soon – to talk about the “good old days” we spent in the Navy. 

After the phone call – I remembered this story which happened when both of us were serving in the prestigious premier Naval Dockyard at Mumbai. 

I am sure my coursemate remembers this story too...

SPOKEN REPUTATION
Unforgettable Characters I Met in the Navy
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

There is a saying in the Navy: 

If you want to know the true character of an officer – ask his coursemates...

Seniors will have one view of an officer – juniors will have another view – but it is his peers who will know the officer inside-out – especially his coursemates who have seen the officers from close quarters from academy days.

Here is a story of an unforgettable character I met in the Navy – an ambitious coursemate of mine.


MY AMBITIOUS COURSEMATE

Long ago – at a meeting  where a lot of senior officers were present  I profusely praised a fellow Navy Officer – who was a coursemate of mine.

I believed in the dictum: 

“Praise in Public and Criticize in Private...”

And – of course – I wanted to do my coursemate a good turn.

So – I praised my coursemate lavishly in front of everyone.

After the meeting  my coursemate came to my office.

I thought my coursemate had come to thank me for the generous way in which I had praised him in front of everyone  and I expected him to utter some words of gratitude.

Instead  my coursemate said to me: “I want to make one sincere request to you...

“You know that I will do anything for you – after all – you are my dear friend and a coursemate. Go ahead – tell me  what can I do for you...? I said to him.

“In future – please do not praise me like you did today  especially in front of senior officers...” my coursemate pleaded to me.

I was surprised  so I asked my coursemate: 

“Why shouldn’t I praise you..? I am your well-wisher....”

My coursemate looked at me  and he said to me: 

“I know that you are my well-wisher. But unfortunately – you have a most terrible reputation with most senior officers. So  if you praise me  it may have the opposite effect...”


EPILOGUE

My coursemate returned the favour many years later.

By nature – I am an honest, straightforward and outspoken person.

Well  as far as senior officers were concerned – my being honest was fine.

My straightforwardness was tolerated.

But  my outspokenness had earned me a reputation of being a tactless, abrasive officer – and  my seniors considered me a “difficult” officer to deal with  since I was not morally pliable” and I candidly expressed my views in a blunt and forthright manner.

Once  during a meeting  I expressed my candid views in my usual blunt forthright manner.

My coursemate was also present – yes – the same coursemate who I had lavishly praised earlier (and who had requested me not to praise him). 

After the meeting  I overheard a senior officer remark to my coursemate about me.

“Your coursemate really calls a spade a spade...the senior officer said, describing me to my coursemate.

In response – my coursemate praised me with these flattering words: 

“Sir – he does not call a spade a spade – he calls a spade a bulldozer...” 

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional 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.

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