Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Humor in Uniform – My Horrible Boss and His Lovely Wife


Unforgettable Memories of My Delightful Navy Days
A Spoof

When I was in the Navy  
– I used to jokingly say:

There are two types of Senior Naval Officers  Alcoholics and Workaholics”.

I had my share of both.

 going by my own experience  I prefer an alcoholic boss any day  rather than a workaholic boss.

Let me tell you a hila
rious story of one such workaholic boss and his vivacious wife.


This happened long back  almost 39 years ago  in the late 1970’s.

Now – Dear Reader – you must try to transport yourself back in time almost 40 years to the Mumbai of the 1970’s – and remember  that there were no mobile phones those days.

On my ship – I had an alcoholic boss.

Like most alcoholic” bosses – he was a good guy.

He had quite a laissez-faire approach and he gave us a free hand.

So – we had an enjoyable time on board this ship. 

Sadly – after completing his “sea time” of one year – this amiable alcoholic boss was transferred out.

The alcoholic boss was replaced by a “workaholic” boss.

Now  this new workaholic boss was a terrible chap.

He could not tolerate the department being run in our informal laissez-faire style – and he decided to crack down”.

He told us that he did not appreciate the hands-off approach of his predecessor – and he warned us that he was going to whip things into shape.

At sea  he made our life hell by his constant interference.

Even in harbour  he would remain on board ship till late evening  sometimes even into the night  even if there was no work.

The problem was that  even on a ship in harbour  in the navy  there was a tradition that a junior officer was required to take permission to proceed ashore  if the Captain or HOD is on board  irrespective of working hours.

This was the practice in the old Navy of those days  but things may have changed now  with the advent of a more permissive atmosphere in the navy.

Those days  even an HOD would seek permission from the Captain to proceed ashore.

Seeking permission to proceed ashore was okay in working hours.

But  unfortunately for us  “working hours” for our workaholic boss would extend till late evening  sometimes even into the night.

If we went to ask him for permission to proceed ashore to enjoy the delights of Mumbai – our painful killjoy workaholic boss would start asking us all sorts of questions  and  in fact  he would create work for us and ensure that we stayed on board ship.

Apart from being a workaholic  our boss had one more weakness – Bridge 

(By the term Bridge – I am referring to the card game  also called Contract Bridge)

Like many officers of those days  our workaholic boss was addicted to playing Bridge.

After our boss finished his work on board  he would go to CCI or US Club to play a few rubbers of Bridge  and he would return home late in the night.

Even on Sundays and Holidays  or whenever he got time  our boss would play bridge in his club.

Our boss spent all his time doing only two things – he “worked or he played Bridge.

Once  we had returned to harbour after a long sailing.

We were eagerly waiting to go ashore on liberty”  but unfortunately  our boss remained on board.

All married officers had rushed home the moment the ship arrived in harbour.

But  our boss was “busy” on board  and he was showing no inclination of going home to his wife.

We dared not ask him permission to proceed ashore  as he would create some infructuous work for us  like making a defect list for a refit that was many months away.

We decided to teach our “workaholic” boss a lesson.

In the evening  we changed into civvies  and quietly left the ship  without taking his permission.

We had picked up a bottle of perfume and some chocolates from the ship’s canteen.

We went straight to the home of our boss on Marine Drive.

Our boss’s wife opened the door.

She was quite surprised to see us.

She welcomed us in.

She was delighted when we gave her the perfume and chocolates.

Then  we told our boss’s wife that her husband had invited us for dinner.

Our boss’s wife seemed surprised  and she looked quite bewildered on hearing this.

“My husband hasn’t come home yet – I thought he was still working on board the ship,” she said, looking confused.

“No, Ma’am  your husband left the ship in the afternoon the moment we arrived in port,” my friend said.

“Maybe  he has gone to CCI to play a game of Bridge,” I added, nonchalantly.

The moment she heard me  our boss’s wife seemed to be getting angry. 

She hated her husband’s Bridge addiction.

Like there are “Golf Widows”  our boss’s wife was a “Bridge Widow”.

“I think we have come at a wrong time…” I said.

“Sorry, Ma’am  when he left the ship – we thought your husband was coming straight home in the afternoon  and he would inform you that he has invited us for dinner,” my friend commiserated.

Our boss’s wife looked at us and she said, “That is very strange of him – the ship came back in the afternoon  and now it is late evening  I wonder why he hasn’t come home yet – and he should have told me that he has invited you for dinner.”

“It is okay Ma’am – we know that Bridge is his first love. But we did not know that he would get so engrossed in his Bridge game  that he would forget to come home after so many days of sailing.” I said.

“Ma’am  sorry for disturbing you – we will come some other time,” my friend said.

Our boss’s wife looked at us  and then she said: “No, No. You two sit down and pour yourself a drink – I will rustle up some dinner for you.”

“Ma'am – why not go out for dinner – to someplace nearby in Churchgate – say  to Gaylord  or to Kamling,” I said.

She looked at us  a bit hesitant.

“Please Ma’am  don’t say ‘No’ – tonight we will treat you – and you can cook us a nice dinner some other time,” my friend said.

Her face lit up  and she said, “Okay. That sounds good. I’ll go inside and get ready.”

So  we took our boss’s wife for a lovely dinner date at Gaylord  followed by Ice Cream at Yankee Doodle Ice Cream Parlour – and then we had a nice stroll down Marine Drive in the cool sea breeze.

It was 11 PM by the time we returned to her place for coffee.

I cannot describe the expression of shock on our boss’s face when he opened the door.

“Where were you guys? I was looking for you all over the ship,” he shouted at us.

Our boss’s wife looked at her husband sternly for some time  and then she said to her husband: “You don’t shout at them. And you don’t lie to me and tell me that you were working on your ship. I know that you were at CCI playing Bridge...” the boss’s wife said.

Our boss looked stunned.

After some time he recovered  and he said to his wife: “What are you saying...? CCI...? Bridge...? Who told you that...? I was on the ship doing some important work. I have just returned half an hour ago  and I find you missing from home...”

“Please don’t tell me lies. I know you left the ship in the afternoon and you were playing bridge at CCI...” our boss’s wife said angrily to him.

“That is not true – who told you that...?” our boss asked his wife.

“Let’s not argue – I don’t want to spoil the lovely evening I have enjoyed after so many years...” our boss’s wife said firmly to her husband, our boss.

Our boss looked at his wife  then he looked at us – and he had a queer look on his face.

We quickly excused ourselves and we quickly left the scene – leaving it to our boss and his wife to fight it out.

It was best not to get into a fight between husband and wife.

Next morning  our workaholic boss summoned us to his cabin.

Our boss seemed quite demoralized.

It seemed that – after the previous evening’s fiasco  his wife had hauled him over the coals and given it to him nice and proper.

Our Boss looked at us – and he said to us: 

“From now on  you can go ashore whenever you want to – you need not take my permission before proceeding ashore on liberty...”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This story is a fictional 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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