Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Humor in Uniform – Hometown Posting

Humor in Uniform 

A current topic of discussion among Military Officers and Veterans is the perceived downgradation of Defence Services vis-a-vis Civil Services in equivalence for status/pay and the denial of NFU to Defence Services on par with Civil Services. 

It seems that nowadays – Defence Officers seem to be obsessed with issues like status/pay etc. 

This was not so in the 1970s – when we were young Naval Officers. 

We believed in a loftier “plane of living” – and – we didn’t give a tinker’s damn for such mundane issues like status/pay etc – and – we had other priorities in life. 

As I hark back to those wonderful navy days – I am reminded of many stories of our carefree life of ships – when things like status/pay were the least of our priorities – we were not ambitious or career-conscious – and – and our sole aim was to enjoy life to the fullest. 

Here is the “memoir” from the happiest days of my life – my early bachelor days in the Navy  the story of Lieutenant “Z” – an unforgettable character I had met during my early days in the Navy.

This hilarious story happened 40 years ago – in the 1970’s 

Read on – and – have a laugh...

The Story of Lieutenant “Z” 
Hometown Posting
A Fictional Spoof

Lieutenant “Z” was transferred to Kolkata 

(Those days – in the 1970’s – Kolkata was called Calcutta – but I will use the present name Kolkata in this story)

The “powers-that-be” thought Lieutenant “Z” would be very happy with his transfer  since Kolkata was his hometown.

Instead of being happy on seeing his transfer order – surprisingly  Lieutenant “Z” got very upset.

So  Lieutenant “Z” rushed to his ship’s Captain to get his transfer cancelled.

“We thought you would be happy – Kolkata is your hometown – you are lucky to get a hometown posting...” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to leave the ship…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Oh – it’s good to see that you are a true sea-dog – and you like the tough life at sea – but then – you have to go ashore…” the Captain said.

“But – Why – Sir…?” Lieutenant “Z” asked.

“See – you got your ‘watchkeeping ticket’ last year – and you have served for more than one year on board as a sea watch-keeping officer – and you will be due for your ‘Long Course’ after 2 years…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – I can spend these 2 years on board this ship – or some other ship – but I don’t want to go to Kolkata – especially in that shore appointment…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

The Captain was getting exasperated – so he said a bit angrily to the young officer: 

“Look here Lieutenant “Z” – there is a bloody shortage of ships and sea billets – and we have plenty of young officers waiting for their watch-keeping tickets – so you will have to cool your heels ashore for 2 years till your ‘Long Course’ comes through…”

“Okay – Sir – if I have to go ashore – then please change my transfer to some other place – I do not wish to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“I just don’t understand you – what’s wrong with Kolkata – it is your hometown – you can be with your parents, family and friends – I personally talked to DOP to get you this appointment – your CO at Kolkata is my friend and he is an excellent officer – he will give you a thumping ACR which will boost your career…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said firmly.

Getting angry  the Captain looked at Lieutenant “Z” – and – the Captain said threateningly: 

Lieutenant “Z” – I am warning you – if you act funny – we will send to ‘Kala Pani’ in the Andaman…” 

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…” “Lieutenant “Z” said happily. 

The Captain was taken aback by this retort of Lieutenant “Z” 

So – the Captain asked Lieutenant “Z”

“Are you crazy…? Why don’t you want to go to Kolkata…? Do you have you some family problems...?” 

“Sir – Booze is expensive in Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said, matter-of-factly.

“What…? What do you mean ‘Booze is expensive in Kolkata’…? Is that the reason why you do not want to go there…?” an incredulous Captain asked “Lieutenant “Z”.

Sir – the only worthwhile perk we get in the Navy is “Concessional Liquor – that is why I want to remain on board ship so that I can enjoy ‘duty-free booze’ – but if I have to go ashore – please send me to a place where ‘Military Booze’ is cheap. Sir – the price of CSD Quota Liquor in Bengal is 3 times more expensive than the price out here in Maharashtra…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

(This story happened in the 1970’s – when CSD Quota Liquor was cheapest in Maharashtra. 

However – since tax concessions are given by State Governments – and local taxes/concessions keep changing from time to time – the situation may be quite different now – and it is possible that Military Booze may be more expensive in Maharashtra than in other states.

But even now – the prices of CSD Quota Liquor vary widely from state to state – so ‘Military Booze’ is cheaper in some states – and more expensive in other states)

Now – after this brief aside – let us continue with the interesting tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain...

“So – you want to remain on board this ship so that you can enjoy cheap ‘Duty Free Booze’…?” the Captain asked Lieutenant “Z”.

“Yes, Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Are you telling me that you even prefer to go to the Andamans because booze is cheaper there…?” the Captain asked Lieutenant “Z”.

“Yes, Sir…”

“It seems that you joined the Navy to drink Liquor…!!!”

“Yes, Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…? Are you telling me that you joined the Navy to drink liquor…?” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – the main reason I joined the ‘Boozy Navy’ was to enjoy the best of ‘Duty-Free’ Booze – that is the reason why I want to serve on ships for the maximum possible time. But – if I have to go ashore – the least I can do is to enjoy my full quota of CSD ‘Military Liquor’ at the cheapest possible rates…” Lieutenant “Z” said, speaking candidly.

“Are you mad…? Are you saying that the only reason why people should join the Defence Services is to drink alcohol…? That means – according to you – teetotallers should not join the Navy – or the Armed Forces…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”

“Sir – I told you before – the only worthwhile perk we get in the Defence Services is ‘Concessional Liquor’ – so what is the point of wasting your life in the Military if you are not going to enjoy this exclusive ‘Fauji Perk’ of ‘Military Booze’…? And if you don’t drink – if you are a teetotaller – you might as well take up a civilian job  you can live a comfortable life  and – you can earn plenty of money…” Lieutenant “Z” pontificated.

“I am a strict teetotaller – I don’t touch alcohol. Are you saying that I am wasting my time in the Navy…?” the Captain said angrily.

“Sir – just think of all the ‘Duty-Free’ Booze and CSD Quota Liquor you have missed out on in all these 25 years of your service…” Lieutenant “Z” said – with genuine regret in his eyes.

“You are a crazy bugger…!!! Just get out my cabin…” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.


Two things happened after this amusing tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain.

The Captain picked up the phone and spoke to the DOP (who was his course-mate).

The DOP had a big laugh when the Captain told him the ‘Boozy’ reason why Lieutenant “Z”wanted his transfer changed.

Since there was no billet available in the Andamans (where ‘Military Booze’ was the cheapest in those days) – DOP did the next best thing possible – and  Lieutenant “Z”was transferred as a Divisional Officer to NDA near Pune where the price of CSD Quota Liquor was the same as in Mumbai  since both Pune and Mumbai were in Maharashtra State.

Then – the Captain thought about his conversation with Lieutenant “Z”. 

Lieutenant “Z” had a point.

Every job had its perks – the Railways gave free Rail Passes to its employees – Airlines gave free Air Tickets – Academicians got sabbaticals – the Corporate Sector too gave a variety of perks and freebies to its Executives – and everyone availed of these perks. 

Similarly – the Defence Services too had their perks – and  the most unique Military Perk was Concessional Liquor.

So – what was the point in joining the Navy if you were not interested in availing of this most Precious Perk of Concessional Liquor’ – especially the ‘Duty-Free Foreign Liquor’ available on board ships...?

Why reliquish and forgo such a valuable perk given to you  and then  regret later  and complain after retirement – that you could not make the most of all the perks given to you by the Navy...?

The Captain thought of the notional loss he had incurred during the 25 long teetotalism years of abstinence during his long service in the Navy.

Yes – the Captain had incurred a huge notional loss in all his 25 years of Naval Service – just because he had sacrificed this exclusive Military Perk” of concessional liquor  by not availing his authorised CSD Liquor Quota – and – by not enjoying Duty-Free Booze – on board all the Navy Ships  on which he had served during his 25 years in the Navy.

There is a saying: 

Better Late than Never...

The Captain asked his steward to get him some chilled Beer.

It was only 11 o’clock in the morning. 

But – that did not matter. 

The Captain wanted to make up for all these 25 lost years of teetotalism and abstinence  and – the Captain wanted to make good as much of the notional loss as possible  in the remaining years of his service.

At first  the Captain’s Steward was a bit surprised to see his teetotaller Captain order Beer – and that too at 11 AM in the morning.

But – when the Steward saw the Captain gesturing him to hurry up – the Steward served the Captain a chilled can of Premium Imported Beer (available dirt cheap at ‘duty-free’ rates on board ship).

This was the Captain’s first sip of Booze ever since he joined the Navy more than 25 years ago.



Instead of wasting money on all those fancy unrealistic military recruitment advertisements  why don’t the Defence Services highlight CSD Quota Concessional Liquor as the USP of Military Life...?

And  of course  as far as the Navy is concerned – shouldn’t Duty Free Booze be highlighted as a special incentive to join the Navy...?

Think about it ... !!!

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. 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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