Saturday, July 12, 2014


Humour in Uniform
Hilarious Memories of my Navy Life

A few days ago, I saw the hilarious spectacle of a lady forcing her small daughter to speak to in English.
The lady herself did not seem quite fluent in English,
Her smattering of malapropisms was quite amusing.
Yet she insisted on speaking in English, and she was forcing her daughter to speak in English too.
It seemed as if she were embarrassed to speak in her own mother tongue, despite the fact that she was fluent in her mother tongue and the persons she was conversing with all understood the vernacular language which was her mother tongue.
This reminded me of an episode that happened long back, when I was in the Naval Dockyard.
We had a worker.
He was a USL (Unskilled Labour).
The beauty about him was that he took immense pride in speaking English.
He insisted on answering in English even if someone spoke to him in Hindi or Marathi, which was his mother tongue.
He was cleaning my office one morning when the phone rang.
The worker picked up the phone.
An officer from Delhi wanted to speak to me.
“He is no more,” the worker answered.
“He is no more?” the officer from Delhi asked stunned.
The officer from Delhi was taken aback by the shocking news of my untimely and sudden “death”.
Still recovering from the shock, the officer from Delhi commiserated with the worker and said: “Oh, I really did not know that he is no more – I am very sorry to hear this.”
Then the officer from Delhi disconnected the phone.
The worker felt good.
He had effectively communicated in English. 
In fact, he had matched a Naval Officer word for word in the English Language.
After a few moments, the concerned officer from Delhi rang up the General Manager (GM) of the Dockyard to enquire about me.
“He is sitting right in front of me,” the GM said.
The officer from Delhi then told the GM about the phone call and that he had been told by someone in my officer that I was “no more”.
“Oh, he has been shifted to another department,” the GM said, “now he is no longer Manager XXX – he is now Manager YYY.”
We all had a good laugh.
The worker had said: “he is no more”.
What he meant to convey was: “he is no more here” (in this department).
He had just missed out one word “here” and the meaning had changed and I was “consigned” to the “Davy Jones’ Locker”.
Or, was it a Freudian slip?
Not likely, since the worker, an innocent USL, was a really nice guy, who just wanted to show off his proficiency in the English Language.
It was just a case of “Effective” Communication.
So, next morning, I went back to my old office and gifted him a copy of the book: “Rapidex English Speaking Course”.

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All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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