Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Humor in Uniform - THE “CTC” LIEUTENANT


From my Humor in Uniform Archives:

I had first posted this hilarious naval yarn in September 2013

Here it is, once more, to cheer you up, raise your spirits on this rather cold and bleak Wednesday morning:


This story happened in the 1970s

A Spoof


“How much pay do you get?” the man asked me.

“1100,” I said.

Well, this happened around 37 years ago, in the 1970s. 

I was a newly promoted Lieutenant in the Navy (Equivalent of an Army Captain or Air Force Flight Lieutenant) and those days our pay scale was Rs. 1100-50-1550

(Yes, those days, Lieutenants started off with a basic pay of Rs. 1100 with an increment of Rs. 50 every year and we remained Lieutenants for 8 long years. After this long wait, we became Lieutenant Commanders with a pay scale of Rs. 1450-50-1800 --- Of course, now, with the Ajai Vikram Singh (AVS) Cadre Review bonanza in 2006, promotions are much faster and the junior-most rank has been abolished)

At the time of this story, as a newly promoted Lieutenant, I had started off in the pay scale of Rupees 1100-50-1550.

The gentleman had asked me how much pay I got.

So I told the gentleman my basic pay – which was 1100 Rupees a month.

“Do you know ‘G’?” the gentleman asked me.

“Of course I know ‘G’ – he is my course-mate and is serving on a ship of my squadron,” I said, and I named the ship.

“Yes. Yes. It is the same person,” the gentleman said.

Then he paused for a moment and said to me, “Your friend ‘G’ – how much pay does he get?”

“Well, he must be getting 1100 Rupees too,” I said.

“Are you sure he gets only 1100 Rupees a month? Are you sure he doesn’t get more?” the man asked.

“How can he get more pay than me?” I said, “Well, I told you the ‘G’ is my coursemate, and like me he is also a recently promoted Lieutenant – in fact, ‘G’ got promoted a month after me since I gained more seniority in our Sub Lieutenant training courses – so surely he cannot get more pay than me.”

“That’s strange,” the gentleman said, “your friend ‘G’ told me that his pay is 5000 rupees per month.”

5000 rupees per month? That is just not possible,” I said, “Even an Admiral does not get that much.”

“Maybe, ‘G’ gets some additional pay,” the man said.

“That is not possible. He cannot get more pay than me. ‘G’ is in the surface navy like me. And even aviators and submariners don’t get that much as he saying,” I said.

“So he is telling lies?” the man said.

“Obviously,” I said, “but tell me, Sir   why are you asking me all this about ‘G’?”

“There was a marriage proposal for my daughter,” he said.

“There is a marriage proposal from ‘G’ for your daughter?” I asked.

“His parents approached us. Or rather, we approached his parents when someone told us about ‘G’ – that he was a suitable status match for our daughter. Well, we live up-north and we really don’t know much about the navy. There was some business work in Pune, so I decided to come myself rather than send my manager – I thought it would be a good idea to go via Mumbai and have a look at the boy ‘G’ before progressing matters further,” he said.

The Deccan Queen started its climb up the Western Ghats and soon we reached Lonavala where I got off the train.
A few days later I ran into ‘G’ at a party.

“So, you’re planning to get married?” I asked him.

“Not really, why?” he said.

“Well, I met your prospective father-in-law,” I said, and told him about the gentleman I had met on the Deccan Queen.

“Oh, that? It’s just in the first stages. I’ll see the girl when I go home on leave next month,” he said.

“Why did you tell him that your pay was 5000 rupees a month?” I asked.

“He told you that?”


“And what did you say?” asked ‘G’ with an anxious look on his face.

“Well, he asked me my salary – and I told him it was 1100 rupees a month,” I said.

“Are you crazy?” ‘G’ exclaimed.

“Why? Isn’t our pay 1100?” I said.

“1100 is our bloody basic pay. That’s the problem with you Maharashtrians – you guys always undersell yourselves,” he said.

“But how can you say that your pay is 5000 Rupees? Even if you add the DA and other allowances, your pay will be about 1400 Rupees, isn’t it?” I said.

“What about the monetary value of all the other benefits and perks we get?” he said.

“Other benefits and perks?” I asked.

‘G’ looked at me and said, “We get so many things. Let’s take married accommodation – do you know the market rent of the houses we get in prime localities? And what actual rent do we pay?”

“So you added the difference between market value of rent and the rent we are charged while calculating your total pay?” I asked.

“Of course,” he said, “and there are so many perks and facilities we get – CSD canteen, LTC, medical treatment, membership of clubs, duty free liquor…”

“Duty free liquor? Booze? But you are a bloody teetotaller – you never drink liquor. Don’t tell me you included the difference in the cost of booze?” I asked, aghast.

“Of course, the differential between market value and what you pay is tantamount to notional salary, isn’t it?” he said matter-of-factly.

“So have included the so-called money value of each and every thing when you calculated your salary as 5000 rupees?” I asked.

‘G’ looked at me said, “Obviously. I considered the notional value of all benefits, perks, facilities, subsidies – everything – and came to a figure of 5000. You see, 1100 rupees may be our basic pay, but 5000 rupees is our notional pay.”

I wanted to have the parting shot, so I said to ‘G’: “Since you are so money-mined, instead of the navy, you should have joined the army.”

“Army? Why?” he asked me.

“In the army you would have got the additional perk of a batman, a sahayak – and you could have added his ‘notional cost’ of the sahayak to your pay. What is the pay, the perks, the notional cost of a soldier – 1000 Rupees? 2000 Rupees? – just imagine – you could have told your prospective father-in-law that your pay was 7000 rupees instead of 5000 rupees!”

“You have a point. How come I never thought of that?” he said.

“And unlike in the Navy, where you have to use your own vehicle, in the Army go get free transport. Think of the cost of the petrol...” I said.

“That is true too...” he mumbled.

As I walked away I noticed a curious expression on his face – as if ‘G’ were busy calculating something in his mind – maybe he was realizing that so many extra perks like sahayaks, transport, et al, he would have been better off as an Army Officer and he was regretting that he had joined the Navy instead of the Army.


It was much later while I was doing my management course that I learnt of the concept of “CTC” or Cost-to-Company.

It was only then that I understood what ‘G’ was talking about.

Yes, ‘G’ was way ahead of his times.

Later, in his illustrious naval career, ‘G’ distinguished himself as a successful businessman in uniform.

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1. This story is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. 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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