Thursday, March 3, 2016

Humor in Uniform : U TURN

Humor in Uniform 

Whenever I see someone making U-Turns – I remember this amusing story.

Hilarious Memories of my Unforgettable Navy Days
A Spoof 

This happened long back  21 years ago  in the mid 1990’s  when I was in IAT Pune.

We had a very dashing Commodore  highly ambitious  as our Director of Studies.

I was the Officer-in-Charge of a prestigious Naval Advanced Postgraduate Course.

The Commodore called me to his office.

“The Valedictory Function of your course is just 2 months away. We have to decide on the Chief Guest for the Valedictory Function. Can you suggest some names...?” the Commodore asked me.

Rear Admiral “A” would be the ideal Chief Guest for the Valedictory Function...” I said.

Rear Admiral “A”...? Why him...?” the Commodore asked.

“Sir  Rear Admiral “A” has done this very course 20 years ago – in fact he topped the course and won the trophy – and then he was an instructor and the Officer-in-Charge of the course over here when he was a Commander. He is very conversant with the training here at IAT  and especially this course, Sir. And – Rear Admiral “A” is technically brilliant too. I feel that he would be the best choice for Chief Guest...” I said.

“How do you know that Rear Admiral “A” is technically brilliant...?”

“Sir  I have worked with him in the Dockyard...” I said.

“Oh  so you are his bloody crony...” the Commodore remarked.

“Sir, it’s not that...”

“Listen,” the Commodore interrupted me, “all what you say may be fine. But we are not going to call Rear Admiral “A” for the Valedictory Function...

“But  why, Sir...?

“Because I have decided to call Rear Admiral “B” for the Valedictory Function. Just put up a draft letter inviting Rear Admiral “B”...

Rear Admiral “B”...? Sir – why do you want to call Rear Admiral “B”...?” I said, taken aback.

“Why...? What’s wrong with Rear Admiral “B”...?” the Commodore asked me.

“Sir  he has not done this course for which the Valedictory Function is being held...”

“So what...? Where does it say that the Chief Guest for a Valedictory Function has to be qualified in that particular course...?”

“Sir  he is from a different branch...”

“What bloody branch are you talking about...? At that level  branches don’t matter. He is a Technical Officer  isn’t he? Now – you don’t argue with me. I have decided to invite Rear Admiral “B”. You put up a draft letter and program inviting Rear Admiral “B”...” the Commodore said.

“Sir  I have a question. What’s wrong with Rear Admiral “A”...? Why are you insisting on Rear Admiral “B” as Chief Guest...?”

“It is simple – in the Navy  you must Salute only the Rising Sun’...”

Rising Sun...?”

“Keep it to yourself – I have just heard a buzz that Rear Admiral “B” is being cleared for promotion to Vice Admiral.”


“There is just one vacancy  so your ex-boss Rear Admiral “A” will have to go home under the ‘Four Year Tenure Rule once he is passed over for promotion. It is the end of the road for Rear Admiral “A”  so he doesn’t matter anymore...”

“So  Rear Admiral “A” is like the ‘Setting Sun – and  there is nothing to be gained by Saluting the Setting Sun...

“That is correct. Now you are beginning to understand. Now you draft a nice letter inviting Rear Admiral “B” to the Valedictory Function and put it up to me tomorrow morning...” the Commodore said.

“Aye, Aye, Sir...” I said.

I hesitated  and then  I spoke to my Boss: “Sir  you will have to speak to Rear Admiral “A” also.”

“Why...? Why should I speak to Rear Admiral “A”...? We are not inviting him here.

“Sir  I spoke to Rear Admiral “A” yesterday seeking his convenience for the Valedictory Function...” I mumbled sheepishly. 

“Are you crazy...? Who asked you to be over-smart and go over my head and speak to Rear Admiral “A”...? Anyway  I am not going to waste my time speaking to the passed over Rear Admiral “A”. So – you speak to him – you give him some excuse – that’s your problem...” the Commodore said.

I felt terrible.

I knew Rear Admiral “A” quite well.

How could I tell Rear Admiral “A” the truth that the Commodore had vetoed his name...?

And worse  how could I tell Rear Admiral “A” the real reason why his name had been vetoed  because he was the “setting sun” – and that “rising sun” Rear Admiral “B” was being invited instead of him...

What excuse could I give him...?

It was going to be very embarrassing for me  and I did not know what to do.

So – I decided to sleep over it  and decide in the morning.

Late at night  after dinner  the phone rang in my house.

It was the Commodore speaking excitedly: “Did you call up Rear Admiral “A” about cancelling his name as Chief Guest for the Valedictory Function...?”

“No Sir – I have not spoken to Rear Admiral “A” as yet...” I said.

“Thank God...!!!”

“What happened, Sir...? I was going to speak to Rear Admiral “A” in the morning.”

“No. No. You don’t call up Rear Admiral “A”. I will call him up in the morning and personally invite him as Chief Guest for the Valedictory Function...” the Commodore said.

“What...? You want to call Rear Admiral “A” as the Chief Guest...? I thought you wanted Rear Admiral “B” as the Chief Guest...” I asked, bewildered.

“Don’t you know what has happened...? I just came to know. It is a big surprise  and a most unexpected development. Rear Admiral “A” has been cleared for promotion to Vice Admiral – and now Rear Admiral “B” is out of the reckoning...” the Commodore said.

“Oh – so now  things are reversed  and now  Rear Admiral “A” is the Rising Sun  and Rear Admiral “B” is the Setting Sun...?” I asked, tongue-in-cheek.

“Yes. You can say that – Rear Admiral “B” will now have to retire in a few months under the Four Year Rule  and his Navy Career is more-or-less over. And yes  now  Rear Admiral “A” is certainly the Rising Sun...” the Commodore answered.

“And – in the Navy  we must Salute only the Rising Sun...” I quipped.

“Absolutely right you must Salute only the Rising Sun...” the Commodore said emphatically  and then he disconnected the phone.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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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. 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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