Sunday, November 10, 2013




1. Please read this only if you have a sense of humour.
2. This story is 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 (all rights reserved)

The OLQ obsessed killjoy “Colonel Blimp” - a story by Vikram Karve

Way back in the 1970’s, when we were trainees, we had a Colonel Blimp type Training Officer. 

Though he was only a few years senior to us, he was a pompous snob with rather archaic ultraconservative conformist views - this officer was truly a “Relic of the Raj”.

A typical Military School and ex-NDA type, who had seen very less of the civilian world, we thought that he was better suited for the Army than for the Navy.

Yes, he was more of a spit and polish prim and proper “Pongo” than a carefree happy-go-lucky Sailor. 

He would have been better off wearing Army Olive Green (OG) rather than donning Navy Whites.

His favourite pastime was to deliver sermons on military conduct and give us moral lectures on OLQ (Officer Like Qualities) and pontificate about service etiquette and social graces and how we must conduct ourselves as officers.

But one thing was sure – he practiced what he preached and he preached what he practiced. 

His turn-out and bearing was always perfect, his officer-like conduct was unblemished, and he always put service before self. 

But for us young happy-go-lucky youngsters who wanted to enjoy life, this “Colonel Blimp” was a big pain in the neck.

One evening while on liberty (shore leave) we were enjoying eating delicious Pani Puri (Gol Gappa) at a roadside stall.

“Colonel Blimp” who was driving by on his scooter saw us. 

He looked totally shocked and appalled.

But he did not say anything there but just drove by. 

Next morning he lined us up and gave us what in Naval parlance is called a “bottle” – a very severe reprimand and scolding which I can remember even today: 

“How can officers behave like this?” 

“you uncivilized buggers were eating Pani Puri at a roadside stall?” 

“It is just not done!” 

“Officers must have proper class. You are no longer college students. As officers you must dine in good decent restaurants.” 

“Remember that your conduct is being watched at all times.” 

“As Officers you are expected to conduct yourselves with proper dignity.”

“Officers are not expected to hang out like hooligans in the open and eat junk food at roadside stalls.”

He went on and on and on.

Then, after he had finished his tirade, he admonished us, “you bloody riff-raff are not fit to go ashore. So I am stopping your liberty as a punishment.”

So, as punishment for our foodie escapades, “Colonel Blimp” stopped our liberty.

Now, we could no longer go out and enjoy the delights the city had to offer. 

Thus, we had no choice but to spend the rest of our training period drowning our sorrows in the bar.

A few years later, on a winter evening in Delhi, my wife and I walked down from our flat in Curzon Road Apartments on Kasturba Gandhi Marg to Bengali Market for our customary evening “tiffin” snacking.

Suddenly we spotted “Colonel Blimp” at the famous Chaat Stall in Bengali Market. 

Standing next to him was a beautiful woman who was eating Pani Puri

“Colonel Blimp” was looking at the gorgeous lady in a rather cold and disapproving way.

But this did not seem to bother the ravishing beauty who was thoroughly enjoying herself eating pani puri after pani puri and slurping her tongue and smacking her lips in delight.

I could not miss this opportunity, so I walked up to “Colonel Blimp” and introduced my wife.

“Colonel Blimp” in turn introduced the gorgeous woman as his fiancée.

“Care for some Pani Puri ?” the lovely lady asked us.

This was an offer I could not refuse, so I said “Sure, we’d love it.” 

And then all of us (except “Colonel Blimp”) relished plate after plate of lip-smacking pani puri and chaat

Yes, we gorged on pani puri and all types of delicious chaat 

We all ate pani puri and chaat, except “Colonel Blimp”. 

He looked on with discomfiture, staunchly refusing our repeated invitations to join us in eating the delicious mouthwatering Pani Puri and chaat

While leaving, “Colonel Blimp” gave me a stern disapproving look.

I knew he was itching to deliver his stock moral lecture - a sermon on “OLQ”.

But then, in his rule-book, “it was just not done” to bullshit juniors in front of ladies. 

So I was spared the agony of a public scolding.

On our way back, I told my wife the story of “Colonel Blimp”.

My wife was was sure that the killjoy OLQ obsessed “Colonel Blimp” would dump his fun-loving “un-officer-like” fiancée as they seemed to be most incompatible for each other. 

But to our surprise we soon got an invitation for their wedding. 

Of course, his wedding reception was held in the service institute and everything was done in a most “officer like manner” - it was an extremely decorous and most formal occasion, as if it were an official party. 

His newly wedded wife was conducting herself in a very prim and proper manner.

We were convinced that “Colonel Blimp” had taken charge of his wife and indoctrinated her on the finer aspects of “OLQ”, social graces and service etiquette and drilled into her as to what was expected of her as a typical Naval Officers wife.

It looked like the fun loving vivacious young girl had been converted into a quintessential NWWA type Naval Wife.

A few days later, one evening, my wife and I were walking down from Kota House towards India Gate on Shahjahan Road.

Suddenly we saw “Colonel Blimp” eating Pani Puri at the famous UPSC Chaat Wala Stall. 

I could not believe my eyes. 

Yes, “Colonel Blimp” was actually relishing Pani Puri on a roadside stall. 

The moment he saw us, he waved to us and invited us over for some Chaat and Pani Puri 

I was stunned.

This was an invitation we could not refuse. 

It was great to see him standing on the roadside, smiling and laughing with abandon.

The metamorphosis was amazing - it seemed that “Colonel Blimp” had lost all his military OG-ness” and was behaving like a normal “civilian” human being.

He was thoroughly enjoying himself, digging into chaat and then popping pani puris  into his mouth, eating gol gappa after gol gappa, in a very carefree manner, totally oblivious of the surroundings.

The vivacious girl had succeeded in transforming the spit and polish, prim and proper, OLQ obsessed killjoy “Colonel Blimp” Pongo into a carefree happy-go-lucky Sailor.

I have seen many officers change for the better after marriage.

And, of course, some change for the worse too.

Like the carefree “devil-may-care” happy-go-lucky officer who suddenly turned ambitious and career conscious after marriage.

But that is another story...

For now, let us enjoy the “Pani Puri” story of OLQ Obsessed Killjoy “Colonel Blimp” and have a laugh...

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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 (all rights reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:

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.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
Professional Profile Vikram Karve:
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog:
Twitter: @vikramkarve
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

No comments: