Sunday, December 17, 2017

Humor in Uniform – Reputation Management

I had the good fortune of participating in the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of my Navy alma mater INS Valsura Jamnagar on 14/15 December 2017. 

During my interactions with young Naval Officers and their good ladies – amused at the way I was talking in a frank manner  without the usual “pretence” of staidness that Veterans of my age put on – a Navy Wife asked me whether I really had the same “candid personality” inside – that I projected outside. 

Maybe this story  which happened during my Navy Days – when I was serving in the prestigious premier Naval Dockyard at Mumbai – will answer her question...

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 officer from close quarters from the Training Academy Days. 

Yes – you cannot put up a facade before your own coursemates. 

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. 

Yes – I really praised” my coursemate generously – highlighting all his good qualities. 

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...

I said to him: 

“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...? 

My coursemate pleaded with me:

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

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. 

My seniors considered me a “difficult” officer to deal with  since I was not morally pliable” – and worse  I candidly expressed my views in a blunt and forthright manner.

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

My coursemate was also present. 

Yes – the very 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
Copyright © 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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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.

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