Monday, November 4, 2013


A Navy Love Story
Short Fiction

1. Please read this apocryphal short story only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, pure fiction, a fantasy, a figment of imagination. So first convince yourself that you have a sense of humour and only then read the yarn, take it with a pinch of salt, and have a laugh. And yes, this story is for adults only, so if you are a kid please skip this post and go onto something academic in nature.
2. This story is a work of fiction. The characters and settings do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
1. 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)

LOVE IN UNIFORM - a short story by Vikram Karve

The young woman naval officer, a Lieutenant, parks her scooter and starts walking to her office in the navy shore establishment, a stone frigate.

The moment she enters her office, she sees her boss, the Head of the Education Department, a middle-aged Commander with a salt and pepper beard.

Like her, he too is a “schoolie” landlubber in white uniform, though he is 15 years her senior and the senior-most Education Officer on the base.

The Commander (Ed) says anxiously: “Put on your peak cap and come with me fast. The Old Man wants to see you immediately.”

The “Old Man” – their Commanding Officer, a Commodore, looks at them sternly.

They see that the Commodore is furious – he does not return their salute.

Also, he does not ask them to sit down.

The Commodore gets straight to the point.

He looks at the young lady naval officer and asks her, “Where the hell were you last evening?”

“Sir…Sir…” she stutters.

“Come on, speak up – I haven’t got all day,” the Commodore shouts.

“Sir, I had gone for a movie,” she says.

“I know – at Eros – I was sitting right behind you,” the Commodore says.

“Sorry Sir – I didn’t see you – otherwise I would have surely wished you,” she says.

“Don’t give me bullshit – I care two hoots whether you wish me or not. I want to know who was that man sitting right next to you – the bugger with whom you were indulging in a disgusting public display of affection – they call it PDA – don’t they?” the Commodore says.

“Yes, Sir – they call it PDA - public display of affection,” the Commander (Ed) says.

“You shut up. I didn’t ask you,” the Commodore scowls at the Schoolie Commander, who starts trembling inside.

The Commodore looks at the young woman Lieutenant and barks out loudly, “Speak up, will you?”

“Sir, he is a friend,” the woman naval officer says.

“Friend? My bloody foot! The bugger is a sailor,” the Commodore shouts.

“Sir, he is a Chief ERA …”

“I know he is a bloody ERA. He was on the last ship I commanded.”

“Sir, he is Chief Petty Officer,” the lady navy officer says.

“So? That doesn’t make an officer, does it? Now you listen to me clearly – I won’t have my officers shacking up with sailors…” the Commodore bellows – he seems livid with anger.

The Commander (Ed) is perturbed at the Commodore’s profane language, so he says: “Sir, I will counsel her…”

“I told you to shut your bloody trap, didn’t I?” the Commodore barks at the Commander (Ed).

Then the Commodore looks at the young lady navy officer and asks her, “How do you know this guy?”

“Sir, we are childhood friends,” she says.

“You are childhood friends with a sailor? How is that possible?”

“Sir, we were neighbours, we went to the same school – he was my elder brother’s classmate. And our fathers were good friends – they were from the same hometown. Sir, our fathers were in the navy,” she says.

“Your fathers were officers in the navy?”

“No Sir – they retired as Master Chief Petty Officers,” the woman navy officer says.

“Oh. So you became an officer and he joined as an ERA,” the Commodore says, “Why the hell didn’t he become an officer?”

“Sir, he tried for the NDA after school but couldn’t make it – but he was selected as an artificer apprentice. His father was retiring that year and told him to join as an apprentice – his father was in a hurry for him to join and settle down in life.”

“And you did your graduation and joined the navy as a bloody schoolie?”

“Yes, Sir,” the lady naval officer says.

“Anyway, call it fate, call it luck – but remember one thing – you are an officer and you cannot fraternize with sailors. Is that clear?” the Commodore says.

“Sir, he plans to quit the navy and join the merchant navy as a marine engineer officer.”

“And when the hell is that going to happen?”

“After 5 years, Sir, the moment he finishes his 15 year contract,” the woman naval officer says.

“That’s a long way off. Now you listen to me carefully – as long as you are an officer and he is a sailor in the navy, you are not to meet him or maintain contact with him in any way – you are not to have any sort of relationship or friendship with him – is that clear?” the Commodore says firmly.

“Sir, please sir – he is more than a friend – we are thinking of getting married,” the lady naval officer says.

“You want to get married to a sailor? Are you bloody crazy? I hope he is not screwing you – that’s the last bloody thing we want – officers and sailors fornicating with each other!” the Commodore yells.

“Sir, please don’t use such foul language…”

“Oh! So you don’t like foul language. Okay, young lady – I will talk to you in plain and simple language that you can understand. Now listen carefully – if you don’t do as I say – if you meet that sailor again – you will be in deep trouble – we will throw the book at you,” the Commodore says menacingly.

“Throw the book at me, Sir?” the lady naval officer asks.

“The Navy Act – I suggest you buy a copy – it’s available at any bookstore which sells law books. Of course, there may be a copy in our library too. And make sure you read Chapter VIII – Articles of War.”

“Articles of War? Sir, but there is no war going on.”

“The Articles of War are a set of regulations – the statutory provisions in the Navy Act that regulate and govern the conduct and behaviour of officers and sailors of the navy – and since you are in the navy, they apply to you too – and also to that high-and-mighty Chief Petty Officer – that bloody boyfriend of yours. We’ll see to it that both of you are punished severely.”

“Sir, but what have we done wrong? And what is his fault? I don’t want you to harm him.”

“I told you, didn’t I? You both are guilty of fraternization – so we will charge you both – and both of you are likely to face court-martial.”

“Court-martial? Sir, please. You are talking as if we have broken the law, as if we have committed some grave offence.”

“Of course, you have committed an offence.”

“Offence? What offence have we committed, Sir? We are just seeing each other. With what offence can you charge us?”

“We can always charge you with the “catch-all offence” – you will be charged with conduct prejudicial to good order and naval discipline – both of you – under Section 74 of the Navy Act.”

“How is our conduct prejudicial to good order and naval discipline? You’ll charge us with breaking discipline just because we went out together on a date?”

“Yes. You are an officer and he is a sailor – you must respect the difference in your ranks. You are breaking discipline by fraternizing with a sailor and not respecting the difference in rank.  An officer engaging in an unduly familiar relationship with a sailor is prejudicial to good order and naval discipline and is unacceptable behaviour. It is just not done. It is gross indiscipline. Do you understand?”

“Sir, it is our personal life. We see each other when we are off-duty – and we meet outside in civilian areas. So how are we breaking discipline?”

“There is no personal life once you join the navy. You better fall in line and behave or you both will be charged and punished – and for you there is one more thing.”

“What, Sir?”

“Since you are an officer, you will be also charged with scandalous conduct unbecoming the character of an officer.”

“Scandalous? Conduct unbecoming the character of an officer?”

“Yes, conduct unbecoming of an officer. That’s section 54 (2) – go and check it up. I told you we’ll throw the book at you if you don’t behave yourself.”

The Commodore looks at the Schoolie Commander and says, “As for you, if you don’t stop her from continuing this nonsense, we’ll charge you with abetment of all the offences she is committing – and you can say good bye to your career.”

“Abetment?” the flabbergasted Schoolie Commander asks.

“Go and read Section 76 – I assure you that if this hanky-panky doesn’t stop immediately – all of you will be in big trouble – especially you, young lady,” the Commodore says, turning to the young woman naval officer and repeating his last words, “yes, especially you, Lieutenant – you will be in real deep trouble – they may even throw you out of the navy with disgrace.”

While the Commodore commanding the stone frigate is reading the riot act to the young woman naval officer, the Captain of the frigate (the ship on which the young woman’s lover, the Chief Petty Officer, is borne) is acting with dispatch.

Before he realizes what is happening, the hapless sailor is instantly transferred to a ship headed east, to be dropped off to his new duty station on a desolate island.

Next morning the young lady naval officer is on her way to take up her new appointment as the Education Officer of a small naval base in a remote place in the back of beyond.

Hopefully, distance will make their ardour cool off.

In true naval style, an awkward problem has been neatly solved.

The lovers have been separated. A messy court martial has been avoided. And navy customs and traditions have been upheld.

As she sits in the speeding train heading towards her new destination, the heartbroken young woman naval officer remembers the consoling words of her ex-boss, the Schoolie Commander, who had come to see her off at the railway station: “The Navy is a System and you should never fight against the system – because the system always wins!”

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: