Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Humor in Uniform - SEEKING APPROVAL

I have been invited to Girinagar Pune by IAT/DIAT (now called MILIT) to deliver a guest  lecture.

I am looking forward to visiting Girinagar tomorrow.

I want to see the lovely verdant campus where I spent so many happy years of my life  and it is always a pleasure to interact with smart young officers of the 3 Services.

I cherish glorious nostalgic memories of Girinagar.

So let me hark back 30 years  to the 1980– and tell you this unforgettable “memoir” of my delightful Girinagar days.

Have a laugh  and ponder over the story.

A Spoof

SEEKING APPROVAL  A Spoof by Vikram Karve

“May I come in, Sir?”

“Come in,” I said.

I looked up.

It was the Canteen JCO.

“Sir, I have a problem,” he said.


“Sir, about the timings on Saturday,” he mumbled.

“Speak up, will you…” I said.

“Sir, on Saturdays the Canteen is open from 10:30 to 12:30.”

“I know,” I said.

“Sir, on Saturday, the bank has a half day – the bank closes at 1 PM – they shut down at 1300 hrs, Sir.”


“It takes me more than half an hour to finish counting all the cash, tallying all the bills and reconciling the day’s accounts.”

(This happened in 1985 when everything was done manually)

“Okay. So what? Get to the point,” I said to the Canteen JCO.

“Sir, it gets past 1 o’clock by the time I reach the bank with the cash. The bank is closed so the cashier refuses to accept the cash and I am not able to deposit the cash in the bank. So I have to take all the cash home and keep it with me for the weekend till Monday and I feel it is very risky for me to keep so much money at home,” he said.

“So what do you want me to do? What’s the solution?” I asked him.

“Sir, if we could change the Canteen Timings on Saturdays from 10:15 to 12:15…?”

“Why 10:15 to 12:15 – change it from 10:00 to 12:00 – that will give you enough time to count the cash and deposit it in the bank by 1300 hrs,” I said, “As it is, I have seen those bank buggers start downing shutters at 12:45 itself on Saturdays.”

“Thank you, Sir – I will put up a file for approval,” the Canteen JCO said.

“What bloody file for approval? Just paint the new timings on the board outside the canteen and implement the new timings from this Saturday onwards,” I shouted.

And so  the CSD Canteen timings were changed and the problem was resolved.

And everyone was happy.


Two months later I was summoned to the Dean’s Office – the Dean wanted to see me urgently.

The Dean, a Major General, was seated on his Chair – and sitting opposite him was the OC Adm, a Colonel.

The Dean asked me sit down on the vacant chair.

“You changed the CSD Canteen timings?” the Dean asked me.

“Yes, Sir,” I said.


I told him the reason – about the problem of depositing cash in the bank on Saturdays when the bank closed early.

“Okay,” the Dean said.

“Sir, Sir,” blurted out the OC Adm, “Sir – he changed the timings without proper authority.”

“What authority?” I said, looking at the OC Adm.

“Who gave you the authority to change the timings?” the OC Adm asked me.

“The Dean gave me the authority,” I said.

“What?” the OC Adm asked, his mouth open in surprise.

I looked at the confused OC Adm and said to him, “Sir – The Dean has delegated his authority to me when he appointed me as the Officer-in-Charge of the Canteen. So I have full authority for the day to day running of the canteen.”

The OC Adm seemed taken aback by my reply, and he said to the Dean, “Sir, see how rudely he speaks – we should take disciplinary action against him.”

“What disciplinary action?” I asked in amazement, looking at the OC Adm.

Then I looked at the Dean, and I said, “Sir, the canteen timings have been changed more than two months ago and everything is running fine. And this clueless OC Adm did not notice all these days and has suddenly woken up now?”

“Clueless? He is calling me clueless? Sir, I am a senior full Colonel and he is calling me clueless!” the OC Adm protested excitedly.

“Enough!” the Dean raised his voice.

Then the Dean looked at me and he said, “This is not the bloody Navy where you can do what you like. Just put up a file to me through OC Adm for ex post facto approval of the new timings.”

(As I told you earlier this happened 30 years ago, in 1985, in IAT, a tri-service training institution where I had just been appointed as faculty and had been promptly given the “bum job” of running the CSD Canteen. 

Though IAT was an inter-service establishment, it was run in typical army style – the Head was the Director and Dean, a Major General, referred to as “The Dean”, with OC Adm and GSO 1 (Training) as his two flunkeys who tried to throw their weight around and browbeat the teaching faculty who were busy performing the primary training task for which IAT existed)

In the evening, there was a party on the lawns of the officers’ mess.

I was drinking in a quiet corner when the Dean walked up to me.

“Good evening, Sir,” I said.

“Good evening – I see that you are doing a good job running the canteen. My wife tells me that you have introduced a lot of new items – and I know you have tightened up the screws on liquor pilferage as well,” he said.

“Thank you, Sir,” I said.

Then, emboldened by the “Dutch Courage” due to the alcohol flowing in my veins, I said to the Dean, “Sir, do you really want me to seek your approval for each and every thing – I think you should give me a free hand to run the CSD Canteen.”

“Oh that…!” the Dean said.

The General enjoyed his drinks and I could see that he was in good spirits too.

“Sir, your OC Adm bullshitted me this afternoon and told me I must take approval for everything,” I said.

“I know – he is quite a stickler. But you don’t worry – you just do what you want  but don’t forget to send a file for approval through OC Adm – I know that he is just a bloody post office – but it will satisfy his ego,” the Dean said.

“Aye, Aye, Sir,” I said.

Then the Dean looked at me and said, “I will tell you something about this crazy OC Adm. But you must to keep it to yourself.”

“About OC Adm?” I exclaimed.

“Do you know how this bloody clueless OC Adm screws up my happiness at night?” the General said.

“At night?” I asked the General.

“He is a bloody full Colonel  but the bugger still disturbs my sleep and rings me up late at night to seek my approval?” the Dean said.

“He calls you up late at night – to seek approval?” I asked the General

“Yes – he wants to seek my approval to make love to his own wife,” the General said tongue-in-cheek.

Then he walked away before I burst out laughing. 

And yes, in true army style, the General used a much more bawdy word for the euphemism: “make love”.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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 story 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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