Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Story of a Boy who wanted to Appear to be a Naval Officer
A Spoof


There is a difference between being a “fauji and to appear to be a “fauji.

I am sure the same holds true for civilian professions as well.

Here is the story of one such officer who wanted to “appear to be a naval officer” – rather than “be a true naval officer”


Long back  around 25 years ago  a young boy  accompanied by his parents came to see me at my home in Pune where I was spending my annual leave.

The boy  15 years old – was studying in 11th Class.

He wanted to join the Navy.

His parents  who lived nearby  were from a business background.

I talked to the boy.

I talked to his parents.

Then  from what I had learnt the hard way from my own experience  I advised the boy not to join the Navy.

His parents were angry with me – and they said: “Why are you saying so? Is our son not fit to join the Navy? Our son is very good – look at his personality, his physical fitness, his intelligence, his smartness. Don’t you feel that our son has the aptitude to be selected for the Navy?”

“Of course  he has the aptitude,” I commented, “but – does he have the right attitude?

At first the boy and his parents seemed confused at what I had said.

Then  they looked at me angrily – and it seemed that they were getting upset.

Before the parents could react  I said: “Well  I feel that your son does not have the appropriate attitude for the Navy.”

I saw that the furious parents now thought that I was demeaning their son.

They were in no mood to listen to any further explanations  so I kept quiet. 

Their ego was hurt.

I could see that now the boy was even more determined than ever to join the Navy just to prove me wrong  as if it were a prestige issue.

The boy cleared the UPSC Exam.

Then  he sailed through the SSB.

Of course  in the Services Selection Boards (SSBs)  they assess “aptitude” – but I wonder if they evaluate “attitude”.

In due course  the smart young boy joined the academy as a cadet for basic training.

I lost track of the boy as I was busy with my own naval career.

10 years later  the same boy  looking smart in his spotless white uniform of a Naval Lieutenant  was sitting in my office in Mumbai.

He had come to ask me a favour.

He desperately wanted to get out of the Navy.

And – he was wondering if I could help him out to get out of the Navy

“But why do you want to quit the Navy?” I asked him with surprise, “You are just beginning your career in the Navy  and you have such a bright future ahead.”

“I just don’t like it over here – I just can’t tolerate my life being controlled all the time – the bloody rules, regulations  and all the bullshit – I can’t stand it anymore,” he complained bitterly.

“So you don’t like the regimentation  the naval way of life?” I asked.

“Yes. I remember what you said 10 years ago when we had come over to your place in Pune. You said that I did not have the right attitude for the Navy. You were right. I should have listened to you,” he said, quite contrite.

Of course  then he went on to list many reasons why he wanted to quit – family pressures (his father was not keeping well and wanted him to look after their family business)  a matrimonial alliance (the girl did not want to marry a defence officer)  and so many other reasons. 

But the crux of the issue was the attitudinal mismatch problem.

I frankly told him that it would be very difficult for him to leave the Navy since he was a permanent commission cadet entry officer.

I advised him that now that he had joined the Navy  it was best for him to continue serving in the Navy  as he had a bright career ahead.

But  I saw that the young Lieutenant sitting in front of me was in no mood to listen to my platitudinous advice.

He had not listened to my advice when I told him not to join the navy.

Now  again  he did not listen to me when I told him to continue serving in the navy.

I politely told him that I could not help him out in this matter  and that it was best he continue in the Navy at least till he completed 20 years pensionable service. 

The young Lieutenant was adamant on quitting the navy. 

He kept putting up his resignation again and again  giving different pretexts each time  and made his own life miserable  and everyone else’s life miserable too.

Later  I learnt that his perseverance to quit the Navy had paid off.

He had finally managed to get out of the Navy after a struggle of nearly 3 years  relentlessly pushing his papers  pulling strings  using connections  begging and pleading his case.

13 years of his productive life were wasted  both to him and to the Navy – and finally he left the Navy with a feeling of bitterness.


During my long Navy career I have seen many such cases of officers who realised that they were misfits in the Navy – and  sadly  they wasted many frustrated years of their lives in misery trying to get out of the Navy.

I am sure you will find similar examples in other professions as well – but – in the civilian world – it is easy to quit your job – and change over to something else.

That is why  before you take up a career – especially a military career  make sure you have the right attitude suitable for that career LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP.

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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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