Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How I Did Not Get Married

Here is an unforgettable vignette from my Navy Life.

This hilarious episode happened 37 years ago  in the year 1980.

Navy Matchmaking Service
A Spoof

In the Army there used to be an appointment called “Colonel Commandant”.

Sometime in the 1970’s – the Navy decided to imitate the Army  and the Navy appointed “Captain Commandants” – one for each branch (Executive, Engineering, Electrical and Supply & Secretariat).

[The Supply & Secretariat (S&S) Branch was later abolished. Soon  the powers-that-be realized that abolishing the S&S Branch was a big blunder – so they brought back the S&S Branch under a new “avatar” renamed as “Logistics” Branch].

One day  I was appointed as Liaison Officer to our Captain Commandant who was visiting our Naval Establishment.

The Captain Commandant was a recently retired Rear Admiral.

By sheer coincidence  both of us had studied engineering at the same institution before joining the Navy.

Of course  he had studied engineering in the 1940’s before joining the Navy as a Direct Entry Officer – and I had done my B. Tech. the 1970’s before joining the Navy as a Sub Lieutenant under the University Entry Scheme.

The Captain Commandant asked me about myself.

When he discovered that we were fellow alumni  he started talking freely with me.

He told me memories of his college life – and he talked about his early days in the Navy.

The Captain Commandant had a great sense of humour.

“They did not make me a Vice Admiral. Instead  they retired me off and made me “Captain Commandant” – and now I am on a Bharat Darshan tour listening to sob stories...” he laughed.

“Sob Stories...?” I asked.

He looked at me  and he said: “Don’t you know the job of a Captain Commandant...?”

“No Sir...” I said.

“I am supposed to solve problems of officers and sailors of my branch. I hope you don’t have any problems...?” he said.

“Sir  actually I have a problem  rather a request...” I hesitantly said.

“Speak up – tell me your problem – feel free...” he said.

“Sir  I want to get out of this horrible desolate place. Can you please get me transferred to Bombay...?” I said.

(Mumbai was called Bombay then).

“You want a transfer to Bombay...? Why...? This place is the alma mater of our branch. Don’t you like instructional duties...?” he asked.

“Sir  I am a bachelor – and for a bachelor  this place is terrible...” I said.

The Captain Commandant smiled  and he said to me: “Let me see what I can do.”

As a good Liaison Officer  I looked after the “Captain Commandant” during his busy schedule.

I was by his side for all the official events – Ceremonial Divisions  his “Pep Talk” to Officers and Sailors  High Tea Party with Junior Sailors  “Booze Up” with Senior Sailors  and the grand formal “Mess Night” at the Wardroom Officers’ Mess.

Next morning  he had a long one-to-one discussion with our Commanding Officer (CO).

I waited outside in the Staff Officer’s office.

Then  we were off to the airport.

“Regarding your request for transfer – I spoke to your CO – in fact  I also spoke to the Director at Naval Headquarters on phone...” the Captain Commandant said.

“Sir – am I being transferred to Bombay...?” I asked excitedly.

“I am afraid not. There is no chance of you being transferred out of this place. Your CO is not willing to spare you. And  the Director said that you have just come here after completing your sea-time – and  they intend keeping you here for at least three years more...” he said.

I was heartbroken.

Seeing the dismay on my face  the Captain Commandant said: “Don't worry. We will solve your problem. We will find you a good wife...”

“Sir – what are you saying…?” I exclaimed, totally bewildered.

“Well – I tried – but I was not able to get you transferred out of this place – so  let me do the next best thing to help you out...” he said.

“Next best thing...? I asked, confused.

Yes. The root cause of your problem is because you are a bachelor – you feel lonely in this desolate place. Once you are married  your problem of loneliness will be solved. Let me tell you that this is the best place for newly married couples – you will get a nice house immediately once you are married – this is the only Navy Station with 100% married accommodation...” he said.

“Sir  please don’t pull my leg...” I said.

“I am not pulling your leg. I am serious. My wife is heavily into this matrimonial match-making business – she knows lots of marriageable girls – daughters of Senior Naval Officers. She will find a suitable bride for you. Just send me your details and I will pass it on to her...” the Captain Commandant said.

I did not send him my details. 

I did not want to trouble the “Captain Commandant” to find a bride for me.

The “Captain Commandant” had more important things to do than run a Navy Matrimonial Service. 

Also – I was in no mood to get married.

And – besides – acquiring a “SODA” Wife was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

By “SODA” – I am referring to Senior Officers Daughters Association (SODA) 

By the way – I managed to escape from this desolate place within a few months – since I got selected for the “prestigious” M. Tech. course at IIT Delhi.

And – one year later – I married a “SODA” – albeit an Army one.

Yes – I got married to an Army SODA”... 

Dear Reader: Please read the story HOW I GOT MARRIED in the next post in the blog.

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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