Monday, June 17, 2013



A Yarn

1. Please read this only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof. So first convince yourself that you have a sense of humour and only then read the yarn and have a laugh. No offense is meant to anybody.
2. This story is a yarn and is a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This happened sometime in the 1980s when I was IAT.

I happened to walk into the office of one of my Pongo colleagues for some work.

You know what the term Pongo means, don’t you?

If you have served in the Army Navy or Air Force I am sure you know.

“Pongo” is naval slang for Armymen.

There are many apocryphal stories on the origins of the term “Pongo”.

Here is one such yarn that I heard long back from an old sea dog.

He told me that the term “Pongo” originated in the Royal Navy to denote an infantryman. 

As per a myth, the “Pongo” was a unique ape. 

When he sensed danger or felt scared the Pongo did not climb trees like most apes normally do.

But the Pongo would dig holes in the earth and hide himself in the ground in the same way as infantrymen dug in and entrenched themselves in the ground when they were under attack in battle.

Another similar yarn says that “Pongo” is derived from the archaic name for the orangutan, which had the habit of digging holes in the ground for no apparent reason and then filling them back. 

The sailors probably observed armymen digging away and hence the nickname.

Well, all such apocryphal stories are to be taken with a pinch of salt and no offense is meant.

If you know some other reason for the origins of the military slang “Pongo” do comment and educate us.

Now, to continue with my story, as I said, I happened to walk into the office of one of my Pongo colleagues for some work.

I saw a total of six Pongos, including my colleague, sitting around the table.

They were engaged in an animated discussion.

So I excused myself and told my army colleague that I would come later.

“No, No, please come in,” my friend said, “in fact you can help us solve our problem.”

“Problem?” I asked.

“Yes, its about the ACR dinner,” he said.

(ACR is an acronym for the all important ANNUAL CONFIDENTIAL REPORT)

“ACR Dinner?” I asked perplexed.

“You don’t have this in the Navy?” they all asked.

“Well, at least I have not heard of it,” I said.

“Our ACRs are due to be written in a month,” my army colleague said, “and all of us are expected to invite our boss and his wife for dinner – and of course all the other army officers and lady wives are invited.”

“Are you telling me that your performance appraisal will be done based on a dinner?” I asked, genuinely baffled.

“Well, I really don’t know, but then these are the hazards of peacetime soldiering,” commented my friend, who was a battle-hardened officer, looking at me wistfully.

“Anyway, what do you want me to do?” I asked.

“Pick lots,” they all said.

“Pick lots?” I asked, totally at a loss.

“Yes,” my friend explained, “we have to decide the sequence of the ACR dinners. You know about the halo effect, don’t you? There is a big advantage in hosting the dinner last, just before the ACR date.”

“Sometimes it is good to host the first dinner too – the first dinner sets the standard, and is also remembered,” said another Pongo sitting in the room.

So I did the honours and picked the chits and the ACR dinner dates were decided.

Of course, for doing the honours, we, my wife and I, were invited to all the Pongo ACR dinners.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013 all rights reserved

Did you like this yarn?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
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Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
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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 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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1 comment:

Neel Gagan said...

Good role to be in ! You get invited to the best dinners ! Bon appetit !