Sunday, June 19, 2016

Military Life is a Song

Humor (and Music) in Uniform


A Spoof

If you ask me: “How was your life in the Navy?”

I will answer: “Well  my Navy Life can be described by a song which was popular when we were in college.”

“Which song?” you may asked.

I will sing a few lines of the song Sajan Re Jhooth Mat Bolo (from the movie Teesri Kasam).

“I don’t understand. How can navy life be like this song?” you may ask.

“Just like the the lines in the song, my navy life can be summed up in 3 phases: ENJOYMENTCOMPLACENCY and ANXIETY – in fact, I had written a post about it in my blog a few years ago...” I may say.

“Well, I can’t keep searching for for your old blog post. Why don’t you post it again?” you may ask me.

So  Dear Readers  here is the post, once more, for you to read and mull over.

Though this post encapsulates my life in the Navy, I am sure it applies to military life in the Army and Air Force as well.


If you are a lover of Hindi Film music, I am sure you have heard the immortal song Sajan Re Jhooth Mat Bolo from the classic movie Teesri Kasam (Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman).

The song is sung by Mukesh with the music composed by Shankar Jaikishan. 

The song’s meaningful lyrics were written by Shailendra.

Whenever I think of my life in the Navy, I realize that three lines from this song encapsulate my long career as a Naval Officer.

In fact, these three lines sum up in a nutshell the three phases of the military life of almost any naval officer, or for that matter any officer of the army or air force.

Here are those three lines from the song Sajan Re Jhooth Mat Bolo:

1. Ladakpan Khel Mein Khoya  


2. Jawaani Neend Bhar Soya


3. Budhaapa Dekhkar Roya


These three lines aptly describe the 3 phases of my Life as a Naval Officer: ENJOYMENTCOMPLACENCY and ANXIETY


(Ladakpan Khel Mein Khoya – I Spent My Childhood Playing)


(Jawaani Neend Bhar Soya – My Youth Was Spent Sleeping)


(Budhaapa Dekhkar Roya – I Cried Seeing Old Age)  

I suggest you hear the song while reading this blog post. 

If this does not work  just click the link below and the video of the song will open in another window for you to click and hear the song:

(But do remember to come back to this window and continue to read this article where I will tell you about the 3 phases of my navy life)




(Ladakpan Khel Mein Khoya  I Spent My Childhood Playing)

After you are commissioned as an officer in the Navy (or maybe Army or Air Force) the first few years will be the best years of your life.

You will be much better off than your civilian counterparts (who have to worry about “establishing their careers” in their new jobs).

In contrast, a young navy bachelor officer can lead a carefree life.

You do not have to worry about “boarding and lodging” – wherever you are appointed (or posted), afloat or ashore, you will be provided decent accommodation and wholesome food in well-appointed wardrooms and officers messes.

You can adopt the work hard, play hard, drink hard, party hard, enjoy hard philosophy of living and there are the best of sports, recreation, social and entertainment facilities available for you to avail of.

Nothing can beat a navy bachelor’s life – you can enjoy the feast of life to the fullest.

I can confidently say that those glorious years were indeed the best years of my life.

There is a saying that “Naval Officers should not marry”.

Indeed, if you follow this dictum and you do not marry you can remain in this happy “Phase 1” throughout your life in the navy and enjoy life to the fullest (maybe it is true for the army and air force as well!)

Phase 1 of your military life will be sheer enjoyment.

The moment you get married, you transcend to Phase 2 ...


(Jawaani Neend Bhar Soya  My Youth Was Spent Sleeping)

The main problem for a young married officer is the perpetual shortage of married accommodation.

This entails forced separations, living in ramshackle barracks and temporary quarters (euphemistically called “B” Type and “C” Type Accommodation).

Only once in my entire Naval Career did I get my “authorized” “A” Type Married Accommodation immediately on arrival in a new station.

Waiting periods range from a few months to a few years, depending on the place.

All these sundry hassles combined with marital bliss and the joys of domesticity shifts your focus (you are no longer “married to the navy”) and you enter a state of contented complacency.

You spend these middle-age years of family life (the “youth” of your navy career) with smug satisfaction.

This phase lasts from the time you get married (about 25 years) through your 30’s till your early 40’s.

Phase 2 is a reasonably happy and contented phase for your life, a phase of complacent contentment.


(Budhaapa Dekhkar Roya  I Cried Seeing Old Age)

You will be in your 40’s  maybe about 45 years of age.

If you are among the lucky few  you will be promoted to high rank – but it is most likely that you will be passed over for promotion – heartlessly superseded and thrown by the wayside.

It feels terrible when you are denied your promotion which you are convinced that you fully deserve.

You feel betrayed.

You were loyal to your bosses  and the service  and suddenly you realize that they have not reciprocated your loyalty in return. 

You feel that your bosses  and the Navy  have exploited you  and then cast you aside.

Apart from the humiliation of being passed over for promotion in a highly rank-conscious organization  you will be filled with a sense of desperation as you mull over your options.

Should you continue plodding in the Navy for the sake of your family  especially for your children who may still be studying in school?

Or should you plunge into a second career, which may dislocate the lifestyle of your family, especially your children?

If you decide to stay on in the navy, which sometimes is a wise decision especially if you do not have the temperament and street-smartness required in the “Civvy Street”, then your time will pass pretty fast.

One day, suddenly, the navy will say goodbye and you will retire when you are still in your early 50s.

Yes, in the defence services, most officers retire in the early or mid 50s.

Even Major Generals retire at 58 and only Lieutenant Generals serve upto 60 which is the retirement age for all civilian government employees; and hardly 1% become Lieutenant Generals, unlike the civil services where almost every officer reaches equivalent rank with pay and perks due to Assured Career Progression (ACP) and Non Functional Upgradation (NFU).

You will be filled with anxiety when you realize that you have not yet completed your familial responsibilities. 

Your children may still be studying and they may not have fully settled down.

You will see that your civilian counterparts are much better off than you – they will retire at 60 by which time their children would be well settled in life and thanks to their 6 years more service they will get a higher pension too.

When you retire, comprehension will dawn on you that all that jingoistic eulogizing glorifying the defence services that you witnessed while in service was all sham and in reality the common civilian is so pre-occupied with earning his living and so busy with his own affairs that he or society does not really care for the defence services or for veteran ex-servicemen like you.

In the civilian world  only one thing matters – Money with a capital “M” – but unfortunately  if you have been an honest Naval Officer  you will not have much money when you retire.

You realize that all that rhetoric about ex-servicemen’s welfare and camaraderie is a big myth  and no one cares for military veterans.

Once you hang up your uniform and retire  you are left all alone to fend for yourself in the unfamiliar civilian world.

When I see the plight of military veterans (ex-servicemen)  I sometimes feel that: 

The Defence Services expect you to be loyal unto death  without necessarily offering loyalty in return


I feel that the three worst things about a Career in Defence Services (Army Navy Air Force) are:

1. Poor Promotion Prospects – which results in early supersession and frustration at a young age (Assured Career Supersession)

2. Early Retirement Age – which results in wastage of productive capacity, insecurity and reduced pension benefits

3. Frequent Transfers – which adversely affect family life and destabilize education of children

But all these negatives mostly happen in Phase 3 of your Military Career – Budhaapa Dekhkar Roya – and  this causes you ANXIETY

The Plus Points of life in the Navy (Armed Forces) are the first Two Phases:

1. Ladakpan Khel Mein Khoya (ENJOYMENT) 


2. Jawaani Neend Bhar Soya (COMPLACENT CONTENTMENT)

So – the first few years of Military Life are good.

And then – as you approach your 50– you reach a state of Budhaapa Dekhkar Roya (ANXIETY)

[If you are a Short Service Commission (SSC) Officer – you will have to play this song in fast forward mode – and you will reach Phase 3 (Anxiety) in around 7 years of Service]

Now that I have told you  in a nutshell  about the pros and cons of life of an officer in the Navy  or broadly speaking about military life  in the Army or Air Force too  if you are one of those youngsters who want to sign up  please go ahead  but do so with your eyes open – and do due diligence  and you will not be disappointed. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This blog post is a is a spoof, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. These are my personal views, to be taken lightly, and these personal musings do not constitute career guidance advice. Please choose your career after carrying out your own due diligence. 
3. 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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