Saturday, August 18, 2012


A Naval Yarn

Are Career Prospects linked to Drinking Capacity ?

Disclaimer – Read this only if you have a Sense of Humour. This is a spoof so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh

Conventional wisdom says that as you grow older you should reduce your consumption of alcohol and drink less liquor.

However, the Military Canteen Stores Department (CSD) seems to think otherwise.

The more senior you become your liquor quota increases accordingly too.

I don’t know the exact liquor quota nowadays, but in our time, junior officers got about 12 bottles of booze a month, the mid-level officers got 14 bottles a month, senior officers got 16 bottles a month and flag officers got unlimited liquor.

Well, the numbers may have changed, but the logic remains the same – your liquor quota increases in direct proportion to your rank.

Going by this topsy-turvy logic, the more senior you become the more liquor you are supposed to drink.

Conversely, as a corollary, one may surmise that promotion is directly proportional to your drinking capacity or alcohol tolerance level – yes, the more you alcohol you can imbibe, the higher your chances of promotion to higher ranks. Ostensibly Career Prospects are linked to Drinking Capacity – THE MORE YOU DRINK THE HIGHER YOU GO.

(By the way, at least in my case, this “promotion is directly proportional to drinking capacity” theory did not hold true, for had this premise been foolproof, then yours truly would surely have become an Admiral; because in my heyday, I could comfortably polish off more than half a bottle of Rum in a drinking session. Sadly, now I am a teetotaller, but during my early navy days I was a regular drinker with great drinking capacity. If career prospects indeed depend on drinking capacity, I should have gone high up the ladder, but maybe, I am an exception to the rule)

Jokes apart, I feel that this “pecking order” for liquor quotas is a rather bizarre interpretation of the RANK HAS ITS PRIVILEGES (RHIP) concept, taking rank consciousness to absurd limits.

Can you please tell me by what logic does an elderly ageing senior officer require to drink more alcohol than his much more younger and youthful junior?

In fact, if you ask me, it may be more prudent to give more liquor quota to young carefree bachelor officers and keep them in “high spirits” rather than facilitate senior married officers to drown their sorrows in alcohol and ruin their family life, besides damaging their own health.

This RHIP discrimination continues after retirement too, despite the fact that once you retire you relinquish your active service rank and become a civilian and are considered equal in status with all others.

And now, someone tells me, that even the paramilitary forces want to join the liquor quota bandwagon and are applying the same bizarre RHIP logic for determining liquor quotas and want to continue the same rank-consciousness after retirement too.

What is this liquor quota I am talking about?

Well,  this liquor quota business seems to be relic of the Raj. The genesis of this liquor quota probably goes back to the days of the British Raj when a British officer serving in India away from home was given a certain amount of liquor at concessional rates. After Independence, like most rules and regulations made by the erstwhile British rulers, this concept was continued.

Whether this “perk” is good or bad is a debatable issue. But nowadays, liquor is freely available all over, and since most states levy taxes on CSD goods, there is hardly any price differential, so gradually this “quota” will become irrelevant.

But I still have two unanswered questions in my mind:
1. Are you supposed to drink more alcohol as you get senior? Is there a correlation between Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) and the amount of alcohol you can imbibe?
2. Is drinking capacity the key to career success and is promotion to senior ranks linked to your drinking capacity? Is there merit in the truism - The More You Drink The Higher You Go...?

Will some “veteran” be so good as to enlighten us?

Till then, Cheers – enjoy your “quota” and have a drink!

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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Jayadev Menon said...

Hi Vikram

That one went down like a Patiala Peg - filled the system with Josh!

I like your funny take on the rationing system. I think you know the answer to that conundrum but decided to provide us with some brain-work with this spirited tale.

I am also been informed that you become more senior the size of your balls get smaller. Yes, it's true!

I am speaking about the balls you play with; what were you thinking about. :)

Cadets play Football, Junior Officers play Rugby, Middle-level Officers play Tennis and Senior Officer play Golf.

On a more serious note - Would the quotas be higher because the Senior Officers entertain more often?

I enjoyed reading your article.


Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Jayadev,
Thanks for your views. I really liked your take on "balls" - now I know why I always remained a cadet - unfortunately I kept playing football!
Cheers - That calls for a "large"

diätplan said...

very good post

Unknown said...

And what happens if someone is demoted?
; )

Nice one!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Elementary My Dear Rutuja - if someone is demoted his liquor quota is reduced till finally he becomes a teetotaller

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Thanks DP

Sandy said...

Hahahah! Love this take on the liquor Quota! I'd be heading to be a Captain by now then...Rum is now an occasional wine is more like it...but drinking in the Navy really didn't promote any cause...I only had eyebrows raised. Even stewards would have that 5 second jaw-drop look because I would ask for OM :)

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Sandy (Sandhya)
I too preferred Rum Paani to Whisky Soda, but for me, it was Hercules or Sea Pirate and then, of course, the all time favorite OM.
Now, it's Fruit Juice or Milk Shake ...!!! LOL
Thanks for your comment. Inspires me to write a bit more about my glorious days.