Friday, February 20, 2015



A Spoof

This happened 30 years ago, in the mid 1980’s, when I was a newly appointed “Directing Staff” (DS) at IAT Pune.

I had barely settled down in my new job, when a paper landed on my table – I had been appointed “Chairman” of the IAT CSD Canteen.

In actual fact, this was no great appointment.

This was a “bum job” – a sundry duty I had to do in addition to my primary job.

And the high-sounding “Chairman” meant nothing – it was IAT parlance for what we in the Navy called “Officer-in-Charge”.

But I was in seventh heaven because I had never been appointed “Chairman” before.

Power went to my head – and I immediately decided to “take charge” – and show off my power of command.

I decided to pay an immediate visit to my new “empire” and summoned the Canteen Manager, an Army JCO.

“Sir, why don’t you come in the evening, when the canteen opens?” he suggested.

“No. I want to take rounds of the canteen right now. And I want to speak to all the canteen staff,” I said, “Have you got any problems?”

“No Problems, Sir. I will summon the staff. We will be ready to receive you in 15 minutes,” the Canteen Manager said.

15 minutes later, when I reached the CSD Canteen, located in a dilapidated Nissan Hut, I found the motley canteen staff assembled there, and the Canteen Manager JCO introduced them to me.

I gave them the usual “motivational” pep talk (which they must have heard ad nauseam from every incoming “Chairman”).

“Is there anything urgent?” I asked the Canteen Manager.

“Sir, the monthly demand has to go by tomorrow to the CSD depot. I have already prepared the demand list. I will get the demand list to your office for your signature in the afternoon. If you sign it today – I will send someone first thing in the morning tomorrow,” he said.

“Why bring it to my office? I will sign the demand right now. That’s how we work in the Navy – we do things here and now,” I bullshitted the JCO.

The Canteen Manager JCO pulled out a huge list from the cupboard.

“Why have you made such a huge list?” I asked, taken aback, “is this a bloody military canteen or a departmental store?”

The Canteen Manager did not say anything.

I started reading the list.

Then, I took out my pen from my pocket, and started striking out items from the list.

“Sir, what are you doing?” the JCO asked, looking alarmed.

“Why have you ordered so many cosmetics?” I asked him.

“Cosmetics, Sir?”

“Hair Dye, Fairness Cream, Body Lotions, Beauty Soap, Lipstick, Nail Polish, Perfumes…? What the hell is all this?” I thundered.

“Sir – these products are in high demand,” the JCO said.

“Are you telling me that soldiers are using fairness creams and coloring their hair?”

“Sir, some officers…”

“All ‘faujis’ – officers and soldiers – all ‘faujis’ are supposed to be tough masculine men – not effeminate metrosexuals,” I said.

“Yes, Sir,” the JCO said, “but the ladies…”

“What ladies…? This applies to military wives too – both ‘faujis’ and ‘faujans’ are supposed to lead simple lives of thrift and frugality. Didn’t I tell you before – this is a bloody military canteen – not a fancy beauty store…”

I continued to strike off all the “cosmetic” items from the list, while the Canteen Manager watched on.

“Sir, Sir – why have you removed Hair Fixer?” he said, looking alarmed.

“Isn’t ‘hair fixer’ a cosmetic?” I asked.

“No, Sir – it is like a wax, Sir – to put on your beard – so you can tie it up…” the JCO said.

“I have a proper full-set flowing beard – I don’t use ‘hair fixer’ – I don’t tie up my beard…” I said

“Sir – you are in the Navy – in the Army…”

“Okay, okay – if you feel it is essential – let ‘hair fixer’ be there…”

“Thank you, Sir,” the JCO said, looking relieved.

I believe in ‘participative’ management – so I gave the list to the Canteen Manager – and I said to all, “Come on, all of you – go through the list – and remove all items which are not essential. We should have just one type of every item – for example – we should order just one brand of soap, which is essential for hygiene – soldiers have no need for beauty soaps…”

Everyone used their initiative – and ‘non-essential’ items were struck of the list with a vengeance – till the demand was reduced to just one page.

“Sir, what about the ‘beauty products’ we already have? Should we throw them out?” a ‘highly motivated’ Johnnie asked.

“No – we can’t do that. So sell them off still stocks last – but no further procurement of cosmetic items,” I said.

The stocks of ‘beauty products’ did not last long.

The first item to be sold out was Hair Dye.

I came to know this when a Brigadier with suspiciously black hair approached me during the mid-morning Tea Break to tell me that there was no hair-dye in the CSD canteen.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This blog post 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.

Copyright Notice:
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)

No comments: