Monday, January 30, 2017

Humor in Uniform – Why I Do Not Live in a Military Veteran “Ghetto”

Humor in Uniform 

During my interactions with fellow Navy Veterans during the Navy Foundation Pune Get-together at Peacock Bay on Sunday afternoon – I realized that I was one of the few exceptions who did not live in the “Military Veteran Ghettos” of Pune where most Defence Officers settle down after retirement.

This has put me at a disadvantage – since I am located far away from various “Military Veteran Facilities” like Healthcare (ECHS/Military-Hospitals), Administrative (CSD Canteens/HQ Sub Area), Social (RSI) etc – and worst – I have to live a life of loneliness – since all my Navy Friends live in and around these “Ghettos” which are located around 30 Kms away on the other side of town.

An ex-Navy Friend asked me why I didn’t buy a house in one of these “Military Veteran Ghettos” and chose to live in a faraway suburb dominated by “IT Nerds”.

“Were you not aware of all these “exclusive” residential projects for Defence Officers in Pune…?” he asked.

“Of course – I was aware of these residential schemes for Defence Officers in Pune. In fact – I was about to book a house in the same “fauji” residential complex where you live – but – I suddenly changed my mind at the last minute…” I said to my ex-Navy Friend.

“You suddenly changed your mind…? Why…?” he asked me.

“It was an impulsive decision…”  I said.

“That’s strange. You are not known to take impulsive decisions…” he said.

“You are right. Normally – before taking an important decision – I think things over methodically – but – in this case – I took a rather spontaneous “spur-of-the moment” decision not to live in the “Military Ghetto” where you live…” I said.

“Tell me about it…” he said.

Here is the story... 

A Fictional Spoof

After retirement – I feel lonely.

I feel lonely because all my Navy Buddies live far away on the other side of town in Pune’s “Fauji Ghetto”. 

Sometimes – when I miss the company of my erstwhile friends – I wish I had lived in the “Fauji Ghetto” after my retirement from the Navy  instead of the “Techie” dominated civilian residential complex where I reside. 

Do you know why I do not live in Pune’s “Fauji” Ghetto...?

Read on...



Pune is a popular retirement destination for military veterans.

Since most “Faujis” are accustomed to living in Cantonments – even after retirement most military veterans cannot get over the Cantonment Syndrome and tend to “ghettoize” in “Fauji Ghettos”.

The Army (AWHO) built the first such exclusive “Fauji Ghetto” in the 1980s near Kondhwa and named it Salunke Vihar.

Curiously  the Navy and Air Force (AFNHB) had no such residential project in Pune despite a having a large number of personnel and veterans from Pune.

Since there was a huge demand for housing from military veterans desiring to settle down in Pune – developers and builders exploited the situation – and announced “exclusive” projects for “Faujis” – which gradually mushroomed into “fauji ghettos” like Mundhwa, Kondhwa or Mohammadwadi – where most retired service officers have settled down.

Now – these builders employed a number of retired military veterans to lure serving defence officers into booking a home in these “exclusive” projects by aggressive marketing.

The story I am going to tell you happened around 16 years ago – during the aggressive “Fauji Ghetto” marketing days. 

Those days I was serving in the premier Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.

Read on...

Mumbai (Circa 2001)


I had a heated argument with my boss  a Commodore  who had still not mentally ascended from the “Engine Room”

To cool off  I headed straight to the Wardroom Mess Bar  sat on the Bar Stool  and ordered a bottle of Chilled Beer.

As I sipped the cool heavenly beer 
 I started feeling soothed immediately.

In a few minutes  I had forgotten about my nasty boss.

The Bar was empty 
 except for me  and two men in civvies  drinking beer on a sofa.

One of the two men was a Naval Officer who I knew.

The other man – I did not know.

The man who I did not know got up 
 and he came towards me. 

He introduced himself – he was a Retired Army Officer turned “Real Estate Agent”.

“Your friend told me you are from Pune...” he said.

I glanced at the fellow Naval Officer – he nodded.

 Pune is my hometown...” I said to the Real Estate Agent.

“We have a very attractive Residential Housing Scheme exclusively for Defence Officers...” he said.

“You mean it is going to be a “Fauji Ghetto”...” I remarked, tongue-in-cheek.

“Well – you really have a wry sense of humour – but – let me tell you that this is a top class project – very posh – with the best of amenities – here – let me show you...” the “Fauji” turned Real Estate Agent said.

He showed me the glitzy brochures 
 and he explained details of the residential project.

It was quite a good housing project and I felt that maybe I should consider it 
 since I was indeed planning to settle down in Pune after my retirement a few years later  by which time this residential project would be ready for occupation.

Seeing my interest 
 the “Fauji” turned Real Estate Agent said: “I will arrange a site visit on Sunday. We can drive down to Pune in the morning and come back in the evening.”
“Okay...” I said, “But I must talk to my wife...”“We will have you picked up from your home in Mumbai in the morning and you can return by evening after seeing the site in Pune. Do remember to carry your cheque book so that you can book your flat after paying a token amount...“I will let you know – maybe we will go some time later...” I said. an officer from your unit booked a terrace flat this morning. The apartment opposite his flat is still vacant – I will block it for you – it is one of the best flats in the project – the balcony has a fantastic view – plus  you will be the Next-Door-Neighbour of your Fellow Naval Officer...” he said.

Next-Door-Neighbour will be a Fellow Naval Officer...? Who is this Naval Officer who has booked the neigbouring flat...?” I asked.

Commodore XXX...” the “Fauji” turned Real Estate Agent said.

Commodore XXX was my Boss 
– he was the very same person with whom I had just exchanged some hot words 
– due to which I had come to cool off in the Bar with chilled beer.

On hearing the name of 
Commodore XXX  my blood pressure started rising.

The soothing effect of the Beer started disappearing.

Stress and anger began to rise in me.

So  I looked at the Retired Army Officer turned “Real Estate Agent” – and  I said to him: 

“I am not interested in the Flat. In fact  I am not interested in buying a house in this entire residential project....”

“Why...? What happened...? You were showing interest in the exclusive defence officers residential scheme. You had even agreed to come on a site visit. And suddenly – you have changed your mind. What happened to you so suddenly...?” the bewildered “Fauji” turned Real Estate Agent asked me.

I looked at the Retired Army Officer turned “Real Estate Agent” – and  I said to him: 

“Commodore XXX is my Boss. I cannot stand him even for a minute. I hate the very sight of Commodore XXXAnd – you want me to see his bloody face every day after my retirement...?”

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

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. This story and 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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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


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