Saturday, December 28, 2013



An Apocryphal Naval Yarn

Humor can do wonders. 

Genuine humour can dissipate anger and dissolve grief.

Here is a story, maybe apocryphal, narrated to me long back by one of my course-mates.

The Executive Officer (XO) of his ship was quite a character. 

The XO was a cheerful, jovial, absent-minded guy who was obsessed with solving crossword-puzzles and whose favourite words were “very good, very good”.

In the Navy, when your senior gave you an order you said: “aye aye, sir” 

And when your junior made you a report you said: “very good” 

Now since the XO received lots of reports he seemed to have developed the habit of saying “very good very good”.

One day an officer brought a sad faced sailor to see the XO. 

It was just after breakfast and the XO was sitting in the wardroom busy with his Times of India Crossword Puzzle.

The officer gestured towards the sailor said: “Sir, we have just received a telegram that his mother has died.”

Very Good Very Good,” the XO said instinctively without even looking up from the newspaper and he continued with his crossword puzzle.

There was stunned silence.

No one could believe his ears.

The poor sailor had been bereaved, his mother had died, and the XO was saying Very Good Very Good”?

Then, after a moment, the absentminded XO paused, put down the newspaper, looked up at the sailor and said: “Your mother died? Very Bad Very Bad.”

Everyone, including the bereaved sailor, burst out laughing.

Though he was quite a character, in his heart, the XO was a most compassionate and genuine man - a True Naval Officer of the “old-mould

In true Naval Tradition, the XO did everything humanly and administratively possible to help the bereaved sailor and made all welfare arrangements to enable the sailor to mitigate his personal grief.

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)

Did you like this yarn?  
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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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