Tuesday, November 17, 2015


This morning I called up a coursemate and had a delightful conversation.
And – I remembered this story...

SMART OFFICER versus GOOD OFFICER - a story by Vikram Karve
I have observed that there are 2 types of Officers in the Navy (and Defence Services):
Here is a story to illustrate the difference between the two kinds of fauji officers:
SMART OFFICER versus GOOD OFFICER  a story by Vikram Karve
This happened more than 30 years ago  in the mid 1980’s.
A young “hot shot” newly promoted Lieutenant Commander reported to IAT Pune as an instructor.
Let us call this young Lieutenant Commander as “A”.
IAT Pune was a top-heavy training institution  and in his department  there were 3 officers – Two Commanders (“B” and “C”) and just One Lieutenant Commander (“A”).
Now  since Lieutenant Commander “A” was the junior-most officer  both the Commanders – Commanders – Commander “B” and Commander “C” – used to order Lieutenant Commander “A” around  and sometimes  there were conflicting orders  and so  “A” was fed up.
So  Lieutenant Commander “A” went up to the Director of Studies (a Commodore)  and asked the Commodore: “Sir  who do I work for...? Is it Commander “B”...? Or is it Commander “C”...? Both of them give me orders.”
“What do you mean “who do I work for”...? This is an academic institution and all instructors are equal. But since you are junior  you have to listen to what your seniors tell you. So – you will obey whatever both of them tell you to do  and you will take advice from both of them. Do you understand...?” the Commodore said.
“Yes Sir. But I still have one doubt...” Lieutenant Commander “A” said.
“Speak up...” the Commodore said.
“Sir  I want to know who will be writing my ACR...? Will Commander “B” write my ACR...? Or is Commander “C” the initiating officer for my ACR...? Lieutenant Commander “A” asked the Commodore.
(ACR is the acronym for Annual Confidential Report which is the sole performance appraisal criterion which determines your promotions and career prospects in the Armed Forces. If you are an officer in the Defence Services  as far as your career prospects are concerned – nothing else matters except your ACRs)
The Director of Studies (a Commodore) was a bit surprised on hearing this question from Lieutenant Commander “A” – so he decided to set the record straight.
So  the Commodore looked at Lieutenant Commander “A” and he said: “The Director of Studies is the initiating officer for ACRs of all instructors in the wing. So I will be writing your ACR  is that clear...?
Thereafter  the moment Lieutenant Commander “A” learnt that the Commodore would be writing his ACR – Lieutenant Commander “A” started totally ignoring the two Commanders “B” and “C”.
Now – Lieutenant Commander “A” started kowtowing the Commodore.

The smart officer Lieutenant Commander “A” got a thumping ACR from the Commodore.
In fact  the Commodore was so impressed with Lieutenant Commander “A” – that he recommended Lieutenant Commander “A” for a commendation  which was duly awarded to him.
The two Commanders “B” and “C” could do nothing but twiddle their thumbs  and watch on helplessly  as Lieutenant Commander “A” deftly outmaneuvered them.
Thanks to the superlative ACR and commendation  Lieutenant Commander “A” was selected for a coveted appointment as commissioning crew of a brand new ship which also entailed a foreign posting as the ship was being built abroad.
Lieutenant Commander “A” was replaced by his course-mate Lieutenant Commander “D”.
We saw that – Lieutenant Commander “A” was a smart officer.
In contrast – Lieutenant Commander “D” was a good officer.
Lieutenant Commander “D” focused more on doing good work rather than earning a good ACR.
The two Commanders (“B” and “C”) were very happy with Lieutenant Commander “D” who diligently performed all tasks the Commanders told him to do. 
However  the Director of Studies (Commodore) had got used to the ingratiating behaviour of Lieutenant Commander “A”  and he tended to compare Lieutenant Commander “D” with Lieutenant Commander “A”.
So – the Director of Studies was not very impressed with Lieutenant Commander “D”.
The Commodore observed that unlike Lieutenant Commander “A”  who would fawn on the Commodore at all times  Lieutenant Commander “D” kept aloof  and he hardly ever came to meet the Commodore unless summoned.
As a result  the Commodore gave Lieutenant Commander “D” a lukewarm ACR.
It did not matter that  in actual fact  the two Commanders (“B” and “C”)  thought that Lieutenant Commander “D” was doing a much better job that his predecessor Lieutenant Commander “A”.
As I told you earlier  in the Armed Forces – ACR is the sole benchmark of excellence (or mediocrity).
So  thanks to his shrewd acumen to earn excellent ACRs  the SMART OFFICER Lieutenant Commander “A” had a chequered career and rose to high rank.
In contrast  the sincere and diligent GOOD OFFICER Lieutenant Commander “D” had an average run-of-the-mill career  like most honest hardworking service-minded naval officers do.

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 is a spoof, satire, 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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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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Updated and Revised Version of my story ACR DILEMMA earlier posted in my Academic and Creative Writing Blog 

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