Friday, May 9, 2014

Humor in Uniform - A “SCOUTING” MISSION


This happened 12 years ago, when I was in Mumbai.

An officer came into my office.

Though I had never served with him on a ship or ashore, I knew the officer since we had done our training together.

He was roughly of my seniority, one course senior, but then I had gained maximum seniority in my Sub Lieutenant’s courses.

I asked him to be seated and ordered a cup of tea for him.

He sat down, smiled at me, and then he started looking up at the wall behind me.

I observed that he was looking at the “Honour Board” on which were displayed the names and tenures of all incumbents of the office I was occupying.

With disappointment writ on his face, he asked me, “You have spent only 2 years here?”

“Yes,” I said, “in fact I have been here for exactly one year and ten months to be precise.”

“Okay,” he said, “thanks for the tea. Sorry if I disturbed you in your work.”

Then, the officer left my office.

I was perplexed as to why he had visited me.

In the evening, while me and my family were sitting by the sea at the Navy Officer’s Institute, I saw the same officer who had come to my office in the morning.

I called him over for a drink.

He had a sip of Whiskey Soda, and then said, “You must be wondering why I came to your office in the morning?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Actually I am posted in NHQ – I have been in Delhi for 5 years and now I am due for a transfer – I want a transfer to Mumbai, but DOP said that there was no suitable billet vacant in Mumbai. So I used some pull through my boss – and then DOP said that if I could tell him a suitable billet in Mumbai where an officer had already spent more than 3 years, he would transfer me there, and move that officer out of Mumbai, probably do a mutual transfer – so my boss sent me on a scouting mission,” he said.

“But why are you targeting me?” I asked.

“Someone told me that you had spent a long time in Mumbai, so I wanted to personally find out – but then I saw that you have not even spent 2 years in Mumbai – but don’t worry – I have found out that “XXX” is sitting in Mumbai for more 5 years,” he said.

Three months later “XXX” was on his way to Delhi and the officer from NHQ joined us in Mumbai.

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