Thursday, March 19, 2015



A Story

Here is a famous “Ancient Wisdom” Mulla Nasrudin story about the art of sycophancy and yesmanship:


Mulla Nasrudin had become a favourite of the King. 

He was a part of his inner circle and was always seen hanging around the king with the coterie of sycophants. 

In fact  Mulla Nasrudin had become the Chief Sycophant to the King.

One day the King was very hungry.

Mulla Nasrudin rushed to the palace kitchen.

He saw some cooked brinjals  so he immediately served the brinjals to the King.

The brinjals had been so deliciously cooked that the King loved the taste  and the King relished them so much  that he told the Palace Cook to serve brinjals every day at every meal.

“Are brinjals not the best vegetables in the world?” the King asked Mulla Nasrudin.

“Very Right, Your Majesty – you are very right. Yes  Brinjals are the very best vegetables in the world. You are absolutely right, your Majesty. The brinjal is the tastiest vegetable in the world,” Nasrudin said, in total agreement with the King.

The King was very happy on hearing this.

Then Nasrudin said to the King: “As you desire, your majesty  I will ensure that brinjals are served every day at every meal.”

Five days later  when brinjals had been served for the tenth meal in succession  the King who was by now fed up of eating brinjals – suddenly roared in anger: “Take these brinjals away! They taste terrible! I hate them!”

“Absolutely right, your Majesty – Brinjals are the worst vegetables in the world,” agreed Nasrudin.

On hearing this the King was quite bewildered.

With a bemused look on his face, the King asked Mulla Nasrudin, “I dont understand your behaviour. Now you are saying that brinjals are the worst vegetables in the world  but just a few days ago you said that brinjals are the very best vegetables in the world.”

“I did, your Majesty. But I am the servant of the King  I am not the servant of the vegetable,” replied Mulla Nasrudin ingratiatingly.

This was an apocryphal “Teaching Story”.

Now – I will tell you the story of a sycophant I came across in the Navy – a Bootlicker called “Very Right Sir”.

The Story of VERY RIGHT SIR” 

I once had a colleague in the navy who was nicknamed “very right sir”.

It was the welcome party of our new boss.

I was in high spirits after imbibing a few glasses of my customary “Rum Paani”  (a large peg of Dark Hercules Rum with water).


Now this new boss was a strict teetotaller.

I did not know that he was a non-drinker, since I was not “tactful” enough to do my “homework” on my new incoming boss.

The boss, holding a glass of orange juice in his hand, said to me: “You seem to be a heavy drinker. Don’t you know that alcohol is bad for your health?”

“Very Right, Sir. Very Right, Sir,” said my “tactful” colleague. 

He too was holding a similar looking glass of orange juice drink in his hand.

Then the  boss looked disapprovingly at my glass of rum and admonished me: “Rum? You are drinking Rum? Don’t you know that Rum is a crude drink? Rum is meant for sailors, not for officers. It is most un-officer-like to drink rum. If you can’t stop drinking, at least you better drink something more decent.”

“Very Right, Sir. Very Right, Sir,” parroted my colleague. 

One year later this teetotaller boss was transferred out and now we were having the welcome party for the new boss.


Now this new boss was one of those “down the hatch” hard-drinking types.

It was the height of summer, a very hot and sultry evening.

I was feeling dehydrated after a hard day’s work, so I decided to start off with a glass of orange juice.

The new boss walked over to us.

As usual, my “tactful” colleague “very right sir” was fawning around the new boss, not leaving his side even for a moment.

The new boss was carrying a glass of Rum in his hand. 

He looked at me, then he looked suspiciously at the glass of orange juice in my hand and said: “What are you drinking?”

“Orange Juice, Sir,” I said.

“Juice? Orange Juice? That’s a bloody ladies’ drink,” he bellowed.

“Very Right, Sir. Very Right, Sir,” echoed my “tactful” colleague.

I was shocked to see that my “tactful” colleague who earlier professed to being a strict teetotaller (when the erstwhile teetotaller boss was around) now had a glass of Rum in his hand, just like the new boss.

Yes my “tactful” colleague “very right sir” had a glass of Rum Paani in his hand.

The boss took a gulp of Rum.

And so did my “tactful” colleague, almost mimicking him.

The boss looked around at what everyone was drinking, and made mocking comments about beer, whisky, gin, vodka and cocktails, before concluding: “You all must drink Rum. Rum is a man’s drink, a true sailor’s drink.”

“Very Right, Sir. Very Right, Sir,” said my “tactful” colleague.

The boss downed his glass of rum in one big gulp “down the hatch”.

And so did my “tactful” colleague “very right sir” who too downed his glass of rum in one go, down-the-hatch.

After observing for a few days, we discovered that our “tactful” colleague even used to “mirror” the movements and actions of the boss. 

By his matching and mirroring technique, my “tactful” colleague “very right sir” used to almost imitate the boss, albeit in a subtle way, and the boss seemed to like it. 

Later, we realized that he was adept at “matching and mirroring” and imitative behavior and all his bosses seemed to like it. 

After all  imitation is the best form of flattery.

This “chameleon” was the darling of this boss, just like he had always been the favourite blue-eyed boy of all his bosses, past and future.

Needless to say  “VERY RIGHT SIR” rose to great heights in his career. 

And it was quite amusing to observe this bootlicker called “VERY RIGHT SIR” trying to masquerade as a leader and boss over those with genuine leadership qualities who were passed over for promotion and had to suffer the pain of supersession in the naval careers.

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

Revised version of my stories earlier posted by me online many times, including at urls:  and

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