Monday, November 27, 2017

Navy Week – A Sailor’s Perspective

Humor in Uniform 

In end September 2017 – I saw a post on a Navy Veterans Form about a Navy Week Event – Ships Open to Visitors on 01 and 02 October 2017 as part of Navy Week 2017 activities. 

I was surprised.

Long ago – when I was in the Navy – to the best of my knowledge Navy Day was observed on the 4th of December every year to commemorate the daredevil attack by Indian Navy Warships on the Pakistan Navy at Karachi Port on December 4, 1971 (Operation Trident). 

Since then – Navy Day was observed on the 4th of December every year– and the week in which Navy Day fell was observed as Navy Week.

Yes – the entire week comprising Navy Day was observed as Navy Week – and usually – this was the first week of December. 

This year – in 2017 – Navy Day (the 4th of December) falls on a Monday – so – as per my calculations – Navy Week should have been observed from 3 December to 9 December (or 4 December to 10 December) 2017.

I was therefore confused as to why Navy Week Events were being held in the first week of October. 

(In fact Air Force Day falls on the 8th of October – so – it may have been apt to observe Air Force Week

By the way – I know that – like Navy Day  there is an Army Day and Air Force Day 

But I wonder whether Army and Air Force observe Army Week and Air Force Week – like the Navy does...?)

But – that is besides the point. 

As I told you  I was confused as to why Navy Week Events were being held in the first week of October.

Had Navy Week expanded into a few months...?

While ruminating on all these thoughts – I rememembered a story I had written on Navy Day and Navy Week a few years ago. 

Dear Reader – here is the story... 

NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK
(Navy Perspective versus Sailors Perspective)
Ramblings of a Retired Navy Veteran
A Fictional Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK – The Navy Perspective

Every year  the 4th of December  is observed as NAVY DAY by the Indian Navy.

In the Indian Navy  the Navy Day celebrations actually extend across the entire week in which the Navy Day falls  and this week is called the NAVY WEEK.

The Navy Week celebrations are held mainly at Mumbai  and on a smaller scale in other Naval Stations like Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Goa etc  and in landlocked New Delhi too.

In Mumbai  the Navy Week Celebrations culminate with Beating the Retreat Ceremony at Gateway of India  and the grand finale is the spectacular Navy Ball at the end of the week on Saturday.  

During the Navy Week the Navy tries to showcase its capabilities to the civilian public by holding a series of combat demonstrations, live displays, parade drills and events like band concerts. 

Sometimes  Naval Families, Navy Veterans and prominent civilian citizens are taken out for a day at sea as guests of the Navy to observe “shop window” exercises which demonstrate salient aspects of the Navy at sea.

In a nutshell  as far as the Navy is concerned: 

The Aim of Navy Day and Navy Week is to showcase the Navy to Civilian Citizens (especially Civilian VIPs/VVIPs)


NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK – A Sailors Perspective

This happened around 40 years ago  in the 1970s.

A few weeks before Navy Week  responsibilities were allocated to various ships. 

Our ship – a frontline warship – was selected to present the “continuity drill” display to be held at the Gateway of India in Mumbai.  

The sailors on our ship started their drill practice one month earlier – and they practised very hard  at least twice a day – even when the ship was sailing at sea.

As Navy Day approached – the sailors rehearsed day and night for the “continuity drill” display to be held at the Gateway of India during Navy Week.

continuity drill is a most precise and difficult parade drill since the entire parade drill sequence and movements are to be performed without any words of command.

That is why it requires rigorous practice and repeated rehearsals before it can be perfected.

The sailors were practising without break for over a month  during working hours  and also in off-working hours  including on Sundays and holidays  in order to perfect the continuity drill.

The sailors long hours of painstaking efforts paid off.

The continuity drill” event was a great success.

The Navy Top Brass congratulated our Captain on the excellent performance of our ships sailors.

After the event  I came across one of my newly recruited sailors who had taken part in the continuity drill” event.

I congratulated the young sailor on his performance and I asked him:

“Do you know why Navy Day and Navy Week are celebrated...?” 

The sailor answered nonchalantly: 

“To impress the Civilians...” 

“What...?” I asked surprised.

The sailor looked at me and said: 

“Sir – this whole Navy Week Tamasha is just to impress Civilian VIPs. 

And  Sir – they make us Sailors slog so much for this Navy Week.

We have been practising this continuity drill day and night – even our shore leave had been stopped because of Navy Week Continuity Drill practice. 

I am so happy the whole Navy Day and Navy Week Tamasha is over...

At first  I was surprised  and taken aback by the sailors answer.

Then  I saw that there was wisdom in what the raw young sailor had said.

The entire Navy  all of us  were slogging away for weeks  to put up a show for civilians.

Yes  we uniformed Navy Officers and Sailors  we were desperately trying to impress civilians – especially Civilian VIPs  the same civilians who frankly did not give a tinkers damn about us  although they seemed to be enjoying the spectacle we were putting up for them. 

I remember a friend of mine  who was in-charge of organizing Navy Week Activities  heave a sigh of relief once it was all over.

The Naval Officer remarked in disgust: 

“This Navy Week Tamasha must be scrapped. 

We screw ourselves for many weeks – to put up a show for these Civilian VIPs – who just don’t care for us... 

Sometimes  I wonder whether it is worth in putting in so much extra effort to try and impress Civilians who don’t care two hoots about the Navy and Naval Sailors.

I wonder whether Civilians understand the sanctity of Navy Day and similar Military Occasions, Parades, Combat Demonstrations, Ceremonial Events and Displays...?

Or  whether they treat them as spectacular extravaganzas and gala spectacles for entertainment and enjoyment...?

Be that as it may  do spare a thought for our Navy Personnel on Navy Day  and during the Navy Week.

Dear Friends: 

On the the 4th of December – on the occasion of NAVY DAY  do think of all the Navy Sailors slogging it out on Warships and Submarines guarding the Oceans, Seas and Coastlines  so that you can sleep in peace. 

Rather than the Navy trying to impress Civilians – how about Civilians trying to impress our Sailors on Navy Day and during Navy Week...?

WISH YOU HAPPY NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK 2017 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © 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 is a revised version of my story posted online earlier by me Vikram Karve on November 28, 2014 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/navy-day-and-navy-week-sailors.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/navy-day-musings.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/navy-day-sailors-perspective.html etc
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