Thursday, December 19, 2013




An Apocryphal Story

1. Please read this story only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, a work of fiction. 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. No offense is meant to anybody.
2. This story is a fictitious yarn. It is a work of fiction. The characters do not exist. The characters and incidents 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

Continued from my Delhi “Babu in Uniform” Days Series:


Part 3 - RUM RAJ

Part 4 – SCIENTIST “Z”

(NB: This apocryphal story happened more than 30 years ago)

After successfully completing my “initiation” I reported for my first day of duty as a “Babu in Uniform” to push R&D files.

I reached my office dot on time, at exactly 9 AM.

The moment I entered my office I saw a man sitting inside.

I noticed that he had picked up the phone and was dialing a number.

From the way he was dressed, I thought he was a peon or conservancy staff, and maybe he was trying to misuse my official phone for his personal calls.

Despite my being in uniform, he seemed to be ignoring me and continuing his phone call.

I got angry.

I roughly took the receiver from his hand and put it back on the instrument.

Then I told him in Hindi to get out of my office.

The man stood up and said in English: “Talk to me properly. I am a Scientist “F”…”

“Scientist “F”? Must be equivalent to a bloody Leading Seaman, or at most a Petty Officer,” I thought in my mind.

So I gestured with my fingers and told him in English to get out of my office.

But the man wouldn’t budge.

In fact, he again sat down on the chair.

I lost my temper.

I raised my voice and using typical profane naval language told the guy to “bugger off”.

(It may not be apt to tell you the exact swear-words, expletives, four-letter words and navy style profanities I shouted at him)

The man was taken aback and he quickly disappeared from my office.

A few minutes later a smartly dressed civilian entered my office.

He was my direct boss, the joint director, who I had met only fleetingly when my predecessor had introduced me to him in the director’s office before my “initiation”.

“Good morning, Sir,” I wished him.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Sir, please sit down,” I said.

He pulled a chair, sat down and said, “Everything okay?”

“Yes, Sir,” I answered.

“There is a thoroughly shaken up person sitting in my office. He’s almost had a nervous breakdown. He says that you abused him in filthy language and bullshitted the hell out of him. What happened?” the joint director asked.

I told him the full story and added, “Just imagine, Sir. What an impertinent bastard – he is just a bloody piddly Scientist “F” and he was behaving as if he was a Scientist “A” or “B” or something…! So I let him have it, nice and proper, and threw him out.”

The civilian joint director burst out laughing, and said to me: “Tell me, what do you think I am?”

I looked at him, quite clueless.

The civilian joint director looked at me and said, “I am also a Scientist – you tell me what grade you think I am?”

I looked at him and thought to myself, “Surely he could not be a Scientist “A” – if so, he would have been the director, or maybe even higher. At most, he could be a Scientist “B” or more likely a Scientist “C”…”

It was better to err on the safer side, so I said to him, “Sir, you must be Scientist “B” … or a very senior Scientist “C” …”

“I am a Scientist “E” …” he said.

“You are an “E”…!” I exclaimed in surprise.

“In R&D everything is topsy-turvy. In academics, grade A may be higher than B which is higher than C and so on, but here everything is ulta-pulta – in reverse order – so Scientist “F” is higher than Scientist “E” – do you understand?” he said.

“Oh, shit,” I said.

“The guy you bullshitted is a Senior Scientist “F” – equivalent to your Navy Captain or Commodore.”

“Sir, I am sorry. Should I apologize to him?” I said.

“Relax,” the joint director said, “on second thoughts I feel that you did the right thing – sitting here in Delhi I think that this is the best way to deal with those buggers from the Labs who come here and disturb us. Now that you have earned a reputation, let it spread, and no one will bother you here.”

I sat in silence, feeling relieved.

The joint director got up to leave and as he walked to the door, he turned around and said, “And by the way, there is no Scientist “A” – the R&D alphabet starts with “B” – Why? Don’t ask me!”


At first I thought that Scientists were dumb in having a reverse order of alphabet hierarchy.

But later I realized that the “Boffins” were much smarter than everyone thought.

During those days the senior-most rank was Scientist “F”.

Soon they created a Scientist “G” – then Scientist “H” – and they can endlessly go on and on creating more and more ranks – Scientist “I”“J”“K”“L”“M”“N”… – all the way down the alphabet till they create a Scientist “Z” who may outrank everyone in the military hierarchy and civilian bureaucracy.

You never know, but the way their ranks are proliferating, these canny “Boffins” may one day even claim that Scientist “Z” outranks the President.

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 work. 
© 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.

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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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