Saturday, November 10, 2012



Here is one of recent retirement musings on what I feel is an absurd interpretation and ludicrous implementation of the Rank Has Its Privileges or RHIP Concept. 

I am posting it once more for you to read, enjoy and ponder over ... Cheers

Humour in Uniform
A Naval Yarn

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

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 the more liquor you get. Yes, your liquor quota increases according to your rank.

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 one may draw the inference that 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.

In a nutshell, this liquor quota conundrum seems to be like a vicious cycle:


Yes, the more booze you can drink and the more alcohol you can imbibe, the greater are your chances of promotion to higher ranks. 

Ostensibly Career Prospects are linked to Drinking Capacity – THE MORE YOU DRINK THE HIGHER YOU GO.

(AN EXCEPTION PROVES THE RULE: 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 loved to drink and was a passionate drinker with great drinking capacity. 
If career prospects indeed depended on drinking capacity, I should have certainly gone high up the promotion ladder, but maybe, I was an exception to the rule. And an exception proves 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.

So while you are in service, your Promotion Potential is directly linked to your Drinking Capacity (also called Alcohol Tolerance Level in medical parlance). 

Your drinking prowess will not only enable you reach high rank while in service, but it will also ensure that (in view of your high rank) you get a higher liquor quota even after retirement.

And now, someone tells me, 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.

The uninitiated must be wondering what is this liquor quota I am talking about?

Well, maybe some veteran can correct me, but as far as I understand, this liquor quota concept 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. 

Yes, in many cases we continue to follow archaic “Royal” traditions in our services which even the British have done away with long ago. 

One wonders whether the British still have a liquor quota for their servicemen. 

As far as the Royal Navy is concerned, I read somewhere that British Royal Navy has discontinued the daily “Rum Rations” given to sailors on board ships which was a centuries-old tradition from the days of the “Rum Bum Lash Navy”. This day, 31 July 1970, the last day when Rum Rations were served to sailors, was observed as “Black Tot Day”.

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

It is interesting to note that whereas there is rank bias” in the entitlement of CSD liquor quota, there is no “gender bias” over here and lady officers have the equal opportunity of imbibing the same amount of wines and spirits as their male counterparts.

Cheers for gender equality. That calls for a drink!

But coming back to the moot point, I still have two sets of unanswered questions in my mind:

1. Are you supposed to drink more alcohol as you get senior? Is there a correlation between Rank and the amount of alcohol you need to imbibe? Do successful people need to drink more alcohol...?

2. Is drinking capacity the key to career success? Is promotion to senior ranks linked to your drinking prowess...? Do you need to drink more alcohol to be successful? Is there merit in the truismThe More You Drink The Higher You Go...?

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

Till then, Cheers – enjoy your “quota” - 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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A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) 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 an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and 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  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines 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 and blogging. Vikram Karve 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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