Monday, May 16, 2016

Girinagar Memories – Exercise “Nukta Cheeni” aka Nuktachini ( नुक्ताचीनी )

Humor in Uniform

Unforgettable Memories of my IAT Girinagar Days
A Spoof

Long back  at IAT Pune  each Officer-in-Charge of a Training Course was required to conduct an “end of course feedback session”.

This was called Exercise “Nukta-Cheeni” (  नुक्ताचीनी ).

In Hindi  the expression “Nukta Cheeni” means “to find fault” – so I guess the trainees were supposed to find some faults with the course they had just attended.

In the Navy we were not familiar with such mumbo jumbo  so I guess this expression must have originated from the Army  where Hindi is the predominant language.

Also  in the Navy  no one gave a damn about things like feedback  especially for training courses.

You finished the course  enjoyed some chilled beer with the faculty at a PLD  and that was that.

But in IAT  which was run on army lines those days  more than 30 years ago  they took this “Exercise Nukta-Cheeni” quite seriously – yes  they called it an “exercise”.

And as a young Officer-in-Charge of a premier postgraduate course, I decided to conduct “Exercise Nukta-Cheeni” meticulously by the book, as prescribed in the Standing Orders.

It was the last working day of the course, and the student officers were eager to pack their luggage and proceed on transfer to their respective ships/units.

So they wanted to get over this “Nukta-Cheeni” exercise as quickly as possible.

This prestigious two years long course was also awarded the Master of Engineering Degree (ME) by the University of Pune.

Students had just submitted their dissertations, and as per practice, the dissertation viva voce examination would be held a few months later for which the student officers would be summoned on Ty Duty from their units.

Now, I happened to be the only “recognized” University Examiner and Dissertation Guide for that particular course.

So, ipso facto, I would be examining their dissertations as an internal examiner and, thus, I would play vital role in their final grading, since the dissertation carried a huge weightage.

That is why most student officers were quite circumspect in their “nukta-cheeni” and avoided “finding fault” with the course or with the the faculty, since they did not want to annoy me.

Everyone ticked the right answers, wrote glowing reports about the conduct of the course, and praised the faculty, especially me, both as an instructor and as an Officer-in-Charge of the Course, since they wanted to be in my good books when the time came for their dissertation viva voce examination, and, also, I would be writing their course reports too.

Reading the flattering feedback they had given me was a big “ego massage” for me and I was feeling good.

Suddenly I read a feedback form: “The Course OIC has got an abrasive personality”.

Now  this was real “nukta-cheeni”.

My ego punctured  I angrily asked the concerned student officer: “What the hell do you mean by your statement that I have got an abrasive personality?”

Seeing my anger, the contrite student officer backtracked to make amends: “Sir, I meant it in a positive sense.”

“Positive sense? Are you trying to bullshit me? How can ‘abrasive personality’ be a positive attribute?” I thundered.

“Sir, I meant that you are straightforward and outspoken. I am sorry, Sir – I will fill up another feedback form,” the student officer said.

“No. I am going to forward this ‘nukta-cheeni’ form to the Director and Dean as it is – the aim of this feedback exercise is to find fault  and that is what you have done – if you feel that I have an abrasive personality  so be it – let everyone know that I have an abrasive personality,” I said.

At night  before going to sleep  I thought about it  and I realized that the “nukta-cheeni” done by the student officer was bang-on accurate.

I did indeed have an “abrasive personality” – and  maybe  I do so even now.

The student officer qualified for his Masters in Engineering (ME) in first class with distinction with top marks in dissertation.

People with “abrasive personality” never harm anybody – in fact  like sandpaper – abrasive persons give a shine to whoever comes in contact with them.

I have experienced this in my long career in the Navy – it is always better to have an “abrasive” boss rather than a “smooth” operator.

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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This is a Re-Post of my Story posted by me online earlier in June 2, 2014.
Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 

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