Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Humor in Uniform – Feedback Report

Humor in Uniform 

Feedback Report

Unforgettable Memories of my IAT Girinagar Days
A Spoof

Long back  at IAT Pune  each Officer-in-Charge (OIC) 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 gobbledygook  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 Pre-Lunch Drinks (PLD) Beering Session  and that was that.

IAT was a inter-service institution  comprising Army, Navy and Air Force Officers – and Defence Scientists too – but it was run on Army lines those days  more than 30 years ago  in the 1980s – they took this “Exercise Nukta-Cheeni” quite seriously 

Yes  in true Pongo Style – they called it an “exercise”.

And – as a young Officer-in-Charge (OIC) 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 ships/units.

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

So  ipso facto – as their Guide – 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 they avoided “finding fault” with the course or with 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 Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Course  since they wanted to be in my good books – when the time came for their dissertation viva-voce examination. 

Also – most importantly  as their Course OIC – I would be writing their course reports too – which would matter for their Naval Careers. 

I started reading the feedback forms submitted by the student officers.

Reading the flattering feedback they had given me – it 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”. 

I was the Course OIC” – and the insolent bugger had written that I had an “Abrasive Personality”...

My ego was punctured  so – 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...”

“What...? 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 – exactly as you wrote it – 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.

Indeed – I did 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 – yes – I gave him the top marks he deserved in his 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 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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This is an updated, abridged and revised 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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