Monday, May 25, 2015

Humor in Uniform - THE BOOZY NAVY


Here is a “memoir” from the happiest days of my life – my early days in the Navy.

This hilarious story happened more than 37 years ago – in the 1970’s ...

A Spoof


Lieutenant “Z” was transferred to Kolkata (or Calcutta – as the city was called in the 1970’s – but I will use the present name Kolkata in this story).

The “powers-that-be” thought Lieutenant “Z” would be very happy since Kolkata was his hometown.

But Lieutenant “Z” seemed very upset and he rushed to his ship’s Captain to get his transfer cancelled.

“We thought you would be happy – Kolkata is your hometown,” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to leave the ship…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Oh – it’s good to see that you are a true ‘sea-dog’ and you like the tough life at sea – but then – you have to go ashore…” the Captain said.

“But – Why – Sir…?” Lieutenant “Z” asked.

“See – you got your ‘watch-keeping ticket’ last year – and you have served for more than one year on board as a sea watch-keeping officer – and you will be due for your ‘Long Course’ after 2 years…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – I can spend these 2 years on board this ship – or some other ship – but I don’t want to go to Kolkata – especially in that shore appointment…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

The Captain was getting exasperated – so he said a bit angrily: “Look here Lieutenant “Z” – there is a bloody shortage of ships and sea billets – and we have plenty of young officers waiting for their watch-keeping tickets – so you will have to cool your heels ashore for 2 years till your ‘Long Course’ comes through…”

“Okay – Sir – if I have to go ashore – then please change my transfer to some other place – I do not wish to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“I just don’t understand you – what’s wrong with Kolkata – it is your hometown – you can be with your parents, family and friends – I personally talked to DOP to get you this appointment – your CO at Kolkata is my friend and he is an excellent officer – he will give you a thumping ACR…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to go to Kolkata…”

“Lieutenant “Z” – I am warning you – if you act funny – we will send to ‘Kala Pani’ in the Andaman…” the Captain said threateningly.

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…”

“Are you crazy…? Why don’t you want to go to Kolkata…? Have you some family problems...?” the Captain asked.

“Sir – Booze is expensive in Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said, matter-of-factly.

“What…? What do you mean ‘Booze is expensive in Kolkata’…? Is that the reason why you do not want to go there…?”

Sir – the only worthwhile perk we get is ‘concessional liquor’ – that is why I want to remain on board ship so that I can enjoy ‘duty-free booze’ – but if I have to go ashore – please send me to a place where ‘Military Booze’ is cheap – Sir – the price of CSD Quota Liquor in Bengal is 3 times more expensive than the price out here in Maharashtra…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

(This story happened in the 1970’s – when CSD Quota Liquor was cheapest in Maharashtra. However – since tax concessions are given by State Governments – and local taxes/concessions keep changing from time to time – the situation may be quite different now – but even now – the prices of CSD Quota Liquor vary from state to state – so ‘Military Booze’ is cheaper in some states – and more expensive in others)

Now – after this brief aside  let us continue with the interesting tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain...

“So – you wanted to remain on board this ship so that you can enjoy cheap ‘duty free booze’…?” the Captain asked.

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“And you even prefer to go to the Andamans because booze is cheaper there…?”

“Yes – Sir…”

“It seems that you joined the Navy to drink liquor…!”

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…?”

“Sir – the main reason I joined the ‘Boozy Navy’ was to enjoy the best of ‘duty-free’ booze – that is why I want to be on ships – but if I have to go ashore – the least I can do is to enjoy my full quota of CSD ‘Military Liquor’ at the cheapest possible rates…”

“Are you mad…? Are you saying that the only reason why people should join the defence services is to drink alcohol…? That means – according to you – teetotallers should not join the Navy – or the Military…?”

“Sir – I told you before – the only worthwhile perk we get in the defence services is ‘concessional liquor’ – so what is the point of wasting your life in the military if you are not going to enjoy this exclusive ‘Fauji Perk’ of ‘Military Booze’…? And if you don’t drink – if you are a teetotaller – you might as well take up a civilian job, live a comfortable life, and earn plenty of money…” Lieutenant “Z” pontificated.

“I am a strict teetotaller – I don’t touch alcohol…” the Captain said, “…are you saying that I am wasting my time in the Navy…?”

“Sir – just think of all the ‘Duty-Free’ Booze and CSD Quota Liquor you have missed out on in all these 25 years of your service…” Lieutenant “Z” said – with genuine regret in his eyes.

“You are a crazy bugger…! Just get out my cabin…” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.


Two things happened after this amusing tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain.

Firstly – the Captain picked up the phone and spoke to the DOP who was his course-mate.

The DOP had a big laugh when the Captain told him the reason why Lieutenant “Z” wanted his transfer changed.

Since there was no billet available in the Andamans (where booze was the cheapest those days) – DOP did the next best thing possible – and  Lieutenant “Z” was transferred as a Divisional Officer to NDA near Pune where the price of CSD Quota Liquor was the same as in Mumbai since both were in Maharashtra State.

Secondly – the Captain asked his steward to serve him a chilled can of premium imported beer (available dirt cheap at ‘duty-free’ rates on board ship).

This was his first sip of booze ever since he joined the Navy more than 25 years ago.

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. This Story and 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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