Thursday, April 13, 2017

The “Affair” - “Stealing” Affections

Humor in Uniform 

“Quintessential” Sailors are rumored to have many “Affairs” (You must have heard myths of the “colourful” love life of Sailors – the “Girl in Every Port” stories etc etc) 

Sadly – in my entire life – I have had only one “Affair”. 

Dear Reader: Here is the story of my one and only “Affair”...

THE “AFFAIR” – “STEALING” AFFECTIONS 
A Fictional Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Circa 1977
Office of the XO of a “Stone Frigate” (Navy Shore Establishment)

Part 1

A “DISCREET” INQUIRY

“I am warning you – you better mend your ways – or else…” the Commander shouted at me.

The Commander was the Executive Officer (XO) of the “Stone Frigate” – a Naval Training Establishment located at an isolated place in the back-of-beyond.

“I don’t understand, Sir…” I said to the XO.

“You bloody well know what I am talking about…” the XO bellowed.

“No, Sir – I don’t know what you are talking about…” I said, calmly.

“So – you want to play innocent – do you…? Okay. We will do it the proper way. You sit down…” the XO said to me.  

“Thank You, Sir…” I said.

I pulled a chair – and – I sat down opposite the XO – on the other side of the table.

The XO placed a writing pad in front of him – and – he took out his pen from his pocket.

“I will ask you some questions – and – you will answer those questions truthfully…” the XO said.

“Sir – is this some sort of inquiry…?” I asked the XO.

“You can say that…” he said.

“Sir – I didn’t get any written intimation about this inquiry…”

“The Commanding Officer (CO) has told me to personally conduct a discreet inquiry since the matter is “delicate” in nature – do you understand…? Or – do you want me to march you up to the CO so that he can tell you himself…?” the XO said angrily.

“No, Sir…” I said.

“So – I will ask you some questions – and – you will answer truthfully – and – I will record my questions and your answers on this writing pad – and then – you will sign each page and at the end…”

“Sir – why don’t you get your stenographer…?”

“Because this is a “discreet” inquiry about a “delicate” matter – and – whatever happens here between you and me – it stays within the four walls of my office. Do you understand…?” the XO said.

“Aye, Aye, Sir…” I said.

“Shall we begin…” the XO asked.

“Yes, Sir…” I said.

Well – it was more of an “interrogation” than an “inquiry”.

Dear Reader: I will try to reproduce below the “interrogation report” for your perusal (to the best of my memory).

“Q” indicates “Question” – asked by the XO.

“A” indicates “Answer” to that Question – given by me.


Part 2

INTERROGATION REPORT

Q: This morning – at about 0600 Hours – you were seen leaving the house of Lieutenant “P”. Is that correct…?
A: Yes, Sir. That is correct.

Q: Lieutenant “P” is away on a course – so – Mrs. “P” and you were alone in the house for the entire night. Is that correct…?
A: Yes. Sir – that is correct – only she and I were in the house.

Q: What were you and Mrs. “P” doing the entire night…?
A: We were playing “Scrabble”…

Q: “Scrabble”…?
A: Sir – it is a “word game” – you have to make words from letters written on tiles by placing them on a scrabble board…

Q: You shut up…!!! Don’t try to “Bullshit” me. I know what “Scrabble” is. Are you telling me that you and Mrs. “P” were playing “Scrabble” the entire night – right until the morning…?
A: Not the entire night, Sir. We played “Scrabble” till around 12:30 – maybe 1 o’clock – and then – we went to sleep…”

Q: Oh – so you are admitting that you slept together…?
A: No, Sir – we did not sleep together – Mrs. “P” slept in her bedroom – and – I slept in the spare room…

Q: Are you sure…?
A: Why don’t you ask Mrs. “P”…? She will tell you what we did all night…

Q: You don’t worry about Mrs. “P”. The NOWA ladies are talking to her. You just answer the questions I am asking you. Do you understand…?
A: Aye, Aye, Sir…

NB: 
At the time of the story in the 1970’s – what is now called NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association) – was known as NOWA (Naval Officers Wives Association).
Sometime in the 1980’s  NOWA – a social organisation of Officers’ Wives – was democratized to include Sailors’ Wives – and converted into a “welfare” organisation – and renamed NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association). 
In a nutshell – NWWA is a “parallel hierarchy” of Navy Wives.
NWWA deals with “welfare” issues – like it was trying to do in this case – by “counselling” Mrs. “P” on LLQ (Lady Like Qualities).
Army and Air Force Wives too have similar “welfare” organisations called AWWA and AFWWA.

After this aside – let us continue with the “interrogation”…

The XO paused for a moment before he asked me the next question…

Q: Do you know the meaning of the term “Stealing Affections”…?
A: Yes, Sir – “stealing affections” is military euphemism for a “seductive love affair”, most likely an “extramarital affair” or “adultery”.

Q: That’s right. Are you aware of that “Stealing the Affection of a Brother Officer’s Wife” is an offence…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Let me reiterate for your benefit that “stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife” is deemed to be conduct unbecoming of an officer and conduct prejudicial to good order and naval discipline and is considered a serious offence. Do you know this…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Would you say that Lieutenant “P” is your “Brother Officer”…?
A: Of course, Sir – Lieutenant “P” is 3 years senior to me – but – he is certainly a “Brother Officer”…

Q: So – Mrs. “P” is a “Brother Officer’s Wife” – isn’t she…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: So – will I be correct if I say that you are trying to steal the affection of a brother officer’s wife…?
A: What nonsense, Sir…? Are you saying that playing “Scrabble” is tantamount to “stealing affections”…?

Q: Cool down. Talk properly. I am your superior officer.
A: I am sorry, Sir.

Q: I will ask the questions – and – you will answer my questions. You will not ask counter-questions. Do you understand…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Do you accept it – or – do you deny it…?
A: I did not understand, Sir.

Q: Do you accept that you are guilty of stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife…?
A: No, Sir – I did not steal her affections…

Q: Well – the fact that you accept spending the whole night with Mrs. “P” in her house is enough “circumstantial evidence” from which your guilt can be inferred – but – if you want me to elaborate – we have more “circumstantial evidence” about your immoral intentions. Do you want to hear it…?
A: Sir – you have a wrong opinion about me – I have no immoral intentions…

Q: That we will see. You just answer my questions. Do you understand…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Is it true that Mrs. “P” visits your cabin in the Officers’ Mess quite frequently...?
A: Not frequently, Sir – but – yes – she has come to my cabin a few times…

Q: Did Mrs. “P” visit your cabin last evening…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: You took her to your cabin…?
A: No, Sir – when I returned to my cabin after playing squash – I found her sitting inside.

Q: Sitting inside…? Does Mrs. “P” have the keys to your cabin…?
A: No, Sir – the steward had the key – she must have asked him to open it…

Q: What was Mrs. “P” doing when you came back after playing squash…?
A: She was sitting in the balcony…

Q: Was she wearing “hot pants”…?
A: “Hot Pants”…? Sir – I do not understand.

Q: What was Mrs. “P” wearing…?
A: She was wearing T-Shirt and Shorts. They were not “hot pants” – she was wearing shorts.

Q: Oh – she was wearing shorts – do you feel that it is an appropriate dress for a lady to wear in a single officer’s cabin…? 
A: Sir, she played a game of squash with me – then – I wanted to play another game with an officer – so – she left…

Q: Are you aware that as per the Mess Rules – Ladies are not permitted in Single Officers’ Cabins…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: You knew this rule – still you took her to your cabin…?
A: Sir – I did not take her to my cabin – she went there on her own…

Q: Is it true that you two were drinking liquor in your cabin…?
A: Sir – are we under surveillance or something…? You even know what we were drinking…?

Q: Answer my question. What were you two drinking…?
A: Rum and Coke – both of us were drinking Rum and Cola.

Q: Are you aware that as per Mess Rules you are not permitted to drink liquor in your cabin…?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: And you two were smoking too – isn’t it…?
A: Sir – we were smoking tobacco cigarettes – not “hash”. Is smoking banned in officers’ cabins too…? Or – are you implying that if a woman drinks and smokes – she is automatically presumed to be promiscuous…?

Q: Isn’t that leading to “circumstantial evidence” of stealing the affections of a brother officer’s wife…?
A: What nonsense, Sir. It is your “opinion” – and – opinion is not evidence.

Q: You two – Mrs. “P” and you – you two were drinking and smoking till around 2100 Hours – then – you went to the Mess – you picked up some packed food – and then – you both walked down to her house – and – you were seen leaving her house at 0600 Hours in the morning. We have recorded statements from witnesses. Are you still denying that you tried to steal the affections of a brother officer’s wife…?”
A: Sir – you can throw the book at me – but I don’t care. Yes – I broke Mess Rules – but – I did not “steal her affections” – I told you – we were playing “Scrabble”…

Q: Since you refuse to admit your guilt – I will put up the report to the CO and let him decide what to do with you. Till then – with immediate effect – you will have no contact with Mrs. “P” whatsoever – do you understand…?
A: Sir, you cannot interfere in my personal life. Mrs. “P” is a friend of mine – and – our friendship is none of your business. And – by the way – has Lieutenant “P”complained that I am stealing his wife’s affections…? It is only he – Lieutenant “P” who can object to my friendship with his wife – not you. And – for your information – it was Lieutenant “P” who asked me to look after his wife during his absence.

Q: You don’t worry about Mrs. “P” – she will be looked after well by the other ladies – in fact – the NOWA “office bearers” are with her right now to give her any help that she wants. As far as you are concerned – I am ordering you not to meet Mrs. “P”. You will give a written undertaking to that effect. Is that clear…?
A: Sir – I am not going to give any written undertaking. I am not going to sign anything which casts aspersions on my character – because – I have not done anything wrong. I will continue my friendship with Mrs. “P” – as long as she wants it. Sir – you can tell the CO to do whatever he wants – but – I will fight it out.

With these words – I got up from my seat – I put on my cap – I saluted the XO – and – I walked out of his office.


Part 3

“STEALING AFFECTIONS

At 1700 Hours (5 in the evening) there was a NOWA Ladies’ Meet in the Officers’ Mess.

Mrs. “P” had been “ordered” to attend the NOWA Ladies Meet.

So – ideally – at 1645 Hours – Mrs. “P” should have been walking with other ladies to the Officers’ Mess – to attend the Ladies’ Meet.

However – instead of walking to the Officers’ Mess – Mrs. “P” was sitting behind me on my motorcycle – dressed in skin-tight Jeans and a rather skimpy Top – her legs astride – her arms around me – as we drove to town to see a Movie.

In fact – as we crossed the Ladies – Mrs. “P” clung onto me – holding me tightly – and – I drove slowly near the ladies – making sure that everyone saw us – sitting “indecently in a “compromising position”…

As soon as the office opened next morning – the CO had a private “conference” with the XO.

The XO told the CO what had happened during his “interrogation” conversation with me.

The XO also told the CO about the evening’s episode – about Mrs. “P” clinging to me tightly on my bike – which he had learnt about from his wife.

Of course – the CO had already been briefed by his own wife – about Mrs. “P” and Me – sitting “indecently” in a “compromising position” on my bike – and the CO’s wife had added a lot of “masala” to make the story more spicy.

“So – what should we do…?” asked the CO.

“Sir – the bugger deserves to be court-martialed…” the XO said.

“Are you crazy…? The whole world will come to know – and – I can’t afford any scandal under my command – especially now. Don’t you know – ACR time is coming up – and – my promotion board is next year. It is a huge batch and there are hardly any vacancies – and – just one small blot is enough to ruin me – so – I can’t afford to take any chances…” the CO said.

“Yes, Sir…” the XO said.

“That bugger wanted a transfer from this place – didn’t he…?” the CO asked the XO.

“Yes, Sir – he had put up a formal request for a transfer to Mumbai saying that as a bachelor he found it difficult to live in this desolate place…”

“I think he had approached the Captain Commandant also…”

“Yes, Sir…”

“Okay – let’s transfer him out – good riddance to bad rubbish…”

“Sir – let’s send him to “Kala Pani” – we will post him to some remote island. A severe “punishment posting” will serve him right and bring him to his senses…”

“Are you crazy…? If you do such a stupid thing – he will raise a bloody “shindig” – the bugger is sure to make “noise” and raise a “stink”. He is a “funny” bugger – a bloody “troublemaker” – he will put up a “rep”  or complain to someone higher-up  that he is being “victimized”. I told you that I want this whole scandal hushed-up. We will give him his choice transfer to Mumbai – so that he will keep his mouth shut…”

“Sir – will you speak to…?”

“No. No. I don’t want to get involved in this murky affair. You get it done at your level. You can do it – can’t you…?”

“Yes, Sir. I will get it done…”

“I want the officer out of here by today – he should be on the evening train to Mumbai…”

“Yes, Sir – I will see to it. And Sir – let’s get rid of Mrs. “P” too – so the whole scandalous affair will be forgotten once and for all…”

“What do you mean…?”

“Sir – I will ask them to transfer Lieutenant “P” to Delhi…”

“Delhi…?”

Mrs. “P” is from Delhi – and  Lieutenant “P” has given Delhi as his choice station – so that his wife can start working again…”

“Oh – so that is the root cause of the problem – these career women get restless in small isolated cantonments like this – and they create all sorts of problems. Okay – go ahead – tell them to issue the transfer order effective next month – so we can pack off Lieutenant “P” and Mrs. “P” to Delhi the moment Lieutenant “P” returns from his course…”

“Aye, Aye, Sir…”

“I want the transfer orders issued immediately – can you get it done – after all – both of them are piddly Lieutenants…”

“I will get it done, Sir – both transfer orders – and – that troublemaker officer will be on the evening train to Mumbai…”

“Very Good…” the CO said, “organize a farewell PLD for him…”

“Aye, Aye, Sir…” the XO said.  


EPILOGUE

Three Months Later

Thanks to the “Stealing Affections” gambit – I got my “Choice Transfer” to Mumbai. 

I settled down well in my new job in Mumbai.

Three months later – I was sent on a Temporary Duty to Delhi to attend a conference.

On my very first evening – I duly “called on” Lieutenant “P” and Mrs. “P” – in their small flat in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi. 

Lieutenant “P” and Mrs. “P” were delighted to see me. 

“So – the “slam-dunk” worked…” Lieutenant “P” said to me. 

“Yes, Sir – both of us got our “Choice Postings” – Me – to Mumbai – and – You – to Delhi...” I said. 

“Yes – everyone was fooled by your smart “Stealing Affections” trick...” Lieutenant “P” said.

“Yes, Sir – I must especially thank your wife…” I said, looking at Mrs. “P”.

“Actually  I must thank you – you really helped me to restart my career...” Mrs. “P” said to me. 

“You have restarted your career...?” 

“Yes – I have restarted my career...” Mrs. “P” said, I had quit my job the moment I got married – so that I could live with my husband. But – when I landed up in that godforsaken place – it was a terrible shock for a “city girl” like me. And then – my husband was sent away on that course – and – for me  living all alone in that lonely miserable place with nothing to do – I was going crazy. Now – I have got my job back – the same job I had quit when I got married – and – I am enjoying working so much…” 

“So – it is “win-win” for all of us…” I said.

“Yes – it’s a “win-win” situation – so let’s say “Cheers” to that…” Lieutenant “P” said.

And – we – all three of us – Lieutenant “P”, Mrs. “P” and Me – we raised our glasses to celebrate. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional 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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This Blog Post is a Revised Re-Post of my Story STEALING THE AFFECTION OF A BROTHER OFFICER’S WIFE posted online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/humor-in-uniform-stealing-affection-of.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/humor-in-uniform-how-to-get-choice.html
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