Saturday, October 24, 2015




I made friends with many “Fauji” Doctors  mostly on ships  a few ashore  especially during my stints at IAT Pune.

I have described a few in my post:   “DOC DANEEKAS IN UNIFORM”

Of all the “Fauji” Doctors I came across  the most unforgettable character of them all was Colonel “N” (a “terrible” fellow)

Dear Readers: From my Humor in Uniform Archives  here is the hilarious story of “Terrible Fellow”  once more  for you to enjoy: 

A Spoof

The “Jolly Good” Terrible Fellow

This happened long back  35 years ago – in the year 1980.

We were only two bachelors living on the first floor cabins of the staff block of the officers’ mess – Colonel “N” and myself.

Of course  I was a true unmarried bachelor  whereas “N” was a forced bachelor  a married bachelor  as his wife was working in Mumbai  where she lived along with their school-going children.

Colonel “N” was a Doctor  an Army Medical Corps (AMC) Officer  who was commanding the local Military Hospital (MH).

The MH was located inside our Naval Establishment  a stone frigate – a navy training base located in the back of beyond.

It was a small hospital  with just a handful of doctors and staff.

In fact  the MH comprised just a few decrepit barracks located in a rather desolate corner of the naval base.

The only bright thing about the MH was its Commanding Officer – Colonel “N” – who was a most jovial chap.

N” was a Keralite  a Malayali  and  like most officers from Kerala  he was a down-to-earth hardworking officer  very sincere in his job.

Though he was a Senior Colonel  “N” did not pull rank. 

Despite being a Commanding Officer of an MH – Colonel “N” did not exhibit unnecessary airs  he did not have an inflated ego  and we all liked his rather amiable disposition.

There was quite a substantial age difference of almost 25 years between us  Colonel “N” was in his late 40’s  and I was in my early 20’s  but despite this – he had such a likable nature  that we became close friends.

What we liked most about Colonel “N” was that he was not rank conscious.

“Rank has got nothing to do with medicine...” Colonel “N” would bellow at fellow doctors who tried to pull rank over their juniors and patients  soldiers, sailors and airmen  who came for medical treatment to the MH from nearby military bases.

Every evening Colonel “N” and I would sit on the lawns of the officers’ mess  or on the terrace of the staff block  and polish off a bottle of Rum  drinking late into the night  sometimes until the wee hours of the morning.

I remember one occasion  when Colonel “N” was in high spirits  topped up with alcohol to the hilt  and suddenly  he pointed towards the horizon  and he said, “Look – there is a fire over there – maybe some ship  an oil tanker  is on fire.”

I looked at the distant eerie orange glow.

Soon  the sun broke the horizon  and we realized that it was sunrise.

Yes  it was no fire  but sunrise  as dawn broke  and the first rays of the sun emanated from just below the horizon causing an orange glow in the sky.

We had been drinking the entire night  right until dawn.

N” and I enjoyed our drinking sessions.

We both liked to talk  and we had many yarns to tell  especially “N” – who regaled me with his never-ending “Medical Anecdotes” and “Army Stories”.

The most remarkable feature about “N” was his amusing diction.

At times  his choice of words was hilarious.

If “N” liked someone  he would say: “He is a terrible fellow.”

Spoken in his typical jovial Kerala accent  with “N” rolling the two “R’s” in the word “terrible” on his tongue  his signature phrase  “He is a terrible fellow” – had a rather delightful effect.

“VIP” Terrible Fellow

One day  at a meeting  our Naval Base Commanding Officer (CO) asked Colonel “N whether he knew anything about the General from Army Medical Corps (AMC)  who was coming down from Headquarters to inspect the Military Hospital (MH).

“Oh yes  I know the General quite well – he is a terrible fellow,” said Colonel “N in his usual candid style.

On hearing this statement by Colonel “N  that the General coming for the Inspection was a “Terrible Fellow”  our career-conscious CO got quite anxious.

For our CO – who was a Technical Commodore who had never commanded anything in his life before  this was a crucial “do-or-die” appointment  which would determine his further promotion to Admiral.

So – our CO was extremely anxious that nothing should go wrong during his tenure. 

Strictly speaking  the Military Hospital (MH) was an independent entity  but still it was located inside the Naval Establishment  and our CO did not want to take any chances.

Our CO was quite wary of the apparent easygoing ways and seemingly couldn’t-care-less attitude of Colonel “N”  who was the Officer Commanding Military Hospital or OC MH

So  as the date for the inspection approached  our CO became extremely tense and jittery – especially since Colonel “N” had told him that the General coming for the Inspection was a “Terrible Fellow”

Our CO was very nervous and terribly paranoid that should something go wrong with the inspection of the MH  he may inadvertently end up getting a “black mark” which may ruin his career.

So  our CO took personal charge  and pulled out all stops to ensure that the inspection was a success.

Our CO would personally take rounds of the MH every morning.

In fact – our CO would spend hours planning, supervising, rehearsing and micromanaging every aspect of the impending inspection.

On the other hand  Colonel “N” seemed to be quite nonchalant.

Actually Colonel “N” was the OC MH  and he should have been the one “sweating” for the inspection of his MH  but he seemed to be cool and relaxed.

In fact  our CO had planned the itinerary meticulously down to the smallest detail  since our CO did not want the MH to be caught on the wrong foot by the “Terrible Fellow” AMC General who was coming for the inspection.

One evening  I commented to Colonel “N that our CO seemed to be interfering a bit too much in the affairs of the MH.

Colonel “Nsmiled at me  and  in his usual unperturbed manner  he said to me: “Well  if your CO wants to do my job  he is most welcome to do so.”

On Inspection Day  there was a big surprise.

Contrary to our CO’s expectations  the “Terrible Fellow” turned out to be a most “Jolly Good Fellow”.

Yes  the AMC General was a most informal, unfussy and cheerful inspecting officer  and he carried out the inspection in a most jovial and relaxed manner  exchanging witty jokes and banter with our CO, the staff, the patients and all of us in the entourage.

In the evening  there was a cocktail party to “celebrate” the successful inspection.

Our nonplussed CO was looking quite sternly at Colonel “N” who was thoroughly enjoying his drinks along with the AMC General (Inspecting Officer).

Suddenly  a happily drunk Colonel “N” looked at our CO. 

Colonel “N” pointed towards the AMC General  and then Colonel “N” said loudly to our CO: “Sir – I told you that our General is a “Terrible Fellow – didn’t I...?”  

Matrimonial “Matchmaker” Terrible Fellow

A few days later  one morning Colonel “N summoned me to his office  which was quite unusual.

Colonel “N” had said it was something urgent  so I rushed to his office in the MH.

“Hey  there was a matrimonial enquiry about you,” he said.

“From who?” I asked, quite surprised, as I was not aware of any matchmaking moves.

“I just got a call from one of ex-bosses. He is a Brigadier in the AMC who is posted in Pune. He is a Maharashtrian like you. He is looking for a suitable match for his daughter...” Colonel “N” said.

“Well, I don’t know anything…” I said.

Colonel “N” looked at me and said to me: “You know how these matchmaking things work – by word of mouth. Someone back home must have told the Brigadier or his wife about you. They must have found out that you are posted here. So the Brigadier must have thought it best to ask me  the nearest AMC Officer  about you.”
“So Sir  what did you tell the Brigadier?” I asked.

Colonel “N” looked at me with warm affection and said to me: “I told the Brigadier that you are a Terrible Fellow”. Yes – in fact  I like you so much  so I told him that you are a Terribly Terrible Fellow...

Those momentous words of “praise” put an immediate end to the rather promising matrimonial prospect for me  and there were no further inquiries about me from the AMC Brigadier.

“Retired” Terrible Fellow

A few years later  one evening  I met N on Colaba Causeway.

“N” had retired from the Army  and now – he was working at a leading hospital in Mumbai.

I invited “N” over to my ship for a drink.

We sat in the wardroom  drinking and talking of the good old days.

The Captain sent down his compliments to me in the wardroom  asking me to bring along my guest N for a drink to the Captain’s cabin.

After we were seated in the Captain’s Cabin  drinks in hand  the Captain looked at N and said: “Sir  do you remember me? I was once admitted to MH Khadki  and you were the Medical Officer who was in-charge of the Officers’ Ward.”

“N” looked carefully at the Captain  and suddenly  his eyes lit up  and N said to our Captain: “Oh  so you are the “Terrible Fellow who used to disappear without a bloody outpass to romance with my pretty nursing officer? What a “Terrible Fellow” you were – bloody leg fractured  but still doing hanky-panky even when admitted to hospital...!”

“Sir  thanks to you  I got married to her...” my Captain said.

On hearing this  N remarked: “Really...? You two got married...? I must say you are truly a very “Terrible Fellow. And I did not even imagine that even she too would turn out to be such a “Terrible Fellow...” 

We talked. 

We drank. 

It was hilarious to hear of their escapades.

It was almost midnight by the time we finished  and all of us were quite happily drunk.

As a mark of respect to “N”  the Captain came to see him off the gangway.

The OOD  the duty PO  and the Quartermaster were all smartly lined up at the gangway.

As “N” crossed the gangway  everyone saluted.

Suddenly  N turned around  and he shouted jovially to the OOD and the gangway staff: “Let me tell you one thing. You are very lucky. Your Captain is a “Terrible Fellow. In fact  your Captain is an “Utterly Terrible Fellow...

Next morning, rather contrite, I went to the Captain to explain: “Sir  actually N meant that you are a jolly good fellow.”

“I know,” my Captain said, “By the way “N” rang me up in the morning to thank me for the hospitality. And do you know what he said about you?”

“What did he say about me, Sir?” I asked quite curious.

“He told me that you are a Terribly Terrible Fellow...” the Captain said.

I was wondering what to say  when my Captain suddenly broke into a laugh  and he said to me: “Well  “Terrible Fellow” is bad enough – “Utterly Terrible Fellowis worse  but he called you a “Terribly Terrible Fellow” – isn’t that the ultimate compliment...?”

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 story is a spoof, satire, 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 this story and all 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.

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: