Thursday, February 20, 2020

Humor in Uniform – “Out of the Box” Thinking – Military Style



Unforgettable Vignettes of My Navy Life

This story happened around 25 years ago  in the 1990 when the Defence Services were suddenly afflicted with the ISO virus

ISO is an acronym for International Organization for Standardization (aka International Standards Organization) an international agency composed of the national standards bodies of more than 160 countries. 

Because International Organization for Standardization would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation the founders decided to give it the short form ISO. 

ISO is derived from the Greek isos  meaning equal. 

Whatever the country  whatever the language – the International Organization for Standardization” is known as ISO.

ISO is an independent, non-governmental, non-profitable, worldwide organization which develops and publishes international standards. It provides a standard for products and services. These standards are accepted worldwide and provide a surety that the products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. 

The ISO 9000 family of standards and Quality Management Standards pertaining to various aspects of quality management. Of these, ISO 9001 Standards are the most popular and well known ISO Standards that deal with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard must fulfill.The standards provide guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.

Originally published in 1987, ISO 9001 underwent revisions in 1994, 2000, and again in 2008. The latest revision was published in September 2015. 

A few other important ISO Standards are ISO 14000 (Environment) ISO 22000 (Food Safety) ISO/IEC 27001 (Information Security) ISO 13485 (Medical Devices) ISO 37001 (Anti-Bribery) etc. 

(I wonder if there are any organisations in India which have implemented ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems to to help organizations fight bribery, eradicate corruption and promote an ethical business culture...?) 

Dear Reader – as usual – I have digressed from my story – so – let me get back to the story I was telling you

As I was telling you – this story happened around 25 years ago  in the 1990 when the Defence Services were suddenly afflicted with the ISO virus.

Everyone was bitten by the “Quality Bug” and suddenly became “quality conscious”.

The ISO Quality Management System was certainly relevant to industrial organizations  like Naval Dockyards.

But for most others  it was a fad – a craze to jump onto the ISO Bandwagon” – just to earn “brownie points”. 

Getting the ISO Certification became a “status symbol” and a “feather in the cap” for the Head of the Organization.

Most of the “Top Brass were quite clueless about ISO. 

But  Senior Officers insisted that units under their command obtain the “ISO Certified” Status Symbol  despite being told that the existing Naval Maintenance Management System was far superior to the ISO Quality Management System (QMS).

The ISO virus” infected the powers-that-be at the Institute of Armament Technology (IAT) Pune too. 

So – it was decided that IAT Pune must get itself ISO Certified.

At our Naval Wing Weekly Meeting – I expressed my dissent – saying that IAT was running fine  that – IAT was an efficient organisation – and – it was recognized as a centre of excellence  and hence – IAT did not need ISO Certification.

My boss gave me a curious smile  and he said to me: 

“You better keep your thoughts to yourself. Once the Big Boss (Dean) has decided – ISO is going to happen – so you better like it or lump it.” 

(Those days – the designation of the Head of IAT Pune was “Director and Dean” – colloquially called “Dean”...) 

“Oh...” I muttered, “so ISO is being forced down our throats...” 

“Yes...” my boss said.

Then  my boss looked at me triumphantly  and – he delivered the coup de grace

“Dean has directed that you will the Officer-in-Charge for ISO implementation. So – it will be your job to ensure that IAT gets ISO Certification…” 

I was taken aback – so – I stammered incoherently: 

“What...? Me...? Officer-in-Charge ISO...?” I said, dazed. 

“Yes – You have been selected by the Dean to implement ISO Standards in IAT – you are tasked to get IAT ready for ISO Certification and ensure that we get ISO Certification...” my Boss said to me. 

Sir  I don’t even have a clue about ISO…” I protested.

“We know. That is why you are being nominated for the ISO Lead Auditor Course...” my boss said. 

Then  he handed me a folder containing details of the ISO Lead Auditor Course for which I was being nominated.

As I read the contents of the folder  my low spirits turned into high spirits. 

The ISO Lead Auditor Course was quite a pricey one week residential course in a luxurious hotel in the nearby hill resort.

So – I was looking forward to an enjoyable week in a luxurious hotel at the salubrious hill station.

When things are going fine  there is always a hitch.

Next morning – the Dean called me to his office  and he said to me: 

“Lieutenant Colonel “X” wants to go for the ISO Lead Auditor Course.” 

I was disappointed to hear this. 

It seemed that the Pongo Dean was favouring the Army over the Navy – his Olive Green (OG) Loyalty prevailing over Institutional Interest. 

Thanks to parochial politics – I had been “de-selected” – and in my place – Lieutenant Colonel X” was now being nominated for this 5-Star Course. 

I then thought about the exact words the Dean had used. 

The Dean had said: 

“Lieutenant Colonel “X” wants to go for the ISO Lead Auditor Course...” 

I was quite confused by the way he had worded it – so  I asked the Dean: 

Sir – you nominated me. And now – you are saying that Lieutenant Colonel “X” wants to go for the ISO Lead Auditor Course”. Sir – I don’t quite understand...

Lieutenant Colonel X” has put in his papers for premature retirement...” the Dean said. 

“Oh...” I said, still confused. 

Seeing the confused look on my face – the Dean said to me: 

Lieutenant Colonel X” wants to quit the Army. That is why he wants to do the course. He says the ISO Lead Auditor Certificate will increase his market value and help him get a good job in the civilian industry after he retires from service...” 

On hearing this – I said to the Dean: 

“Sir  but how will his doing the ISO Lead Auditor Course be of any use to IAT...? Lieutenant Colonel “X” will do the course and he will retire. If I do the ISO Lead Auditor Course  I will use the knowledge I gain for getting ISO Certification and implementing ISO here in IAT...” 

The Dean looked at me and said: 

“I have thought about all that. 

Here is the best solution. 

You want the knowledge – so you attend the course. 

Lieutenant Colonel “X” wants the certificate – so let him have the certificate...

At first – I was taken aback on hearing the Dean’s words.  

I thought the Dean was joking – or – he had gone crazy – or maybe – I had not heard right – so I asked him: 

“Sir – are you saying that I have to attend the ISO Lead Auditor Course – but the certificate is to be issued in the name of Lieutenant Colonel “X”...? 

The Dean smiled and said to me: 


So – you will have the knowledge of a ISO Lead Auditor – which you can use here to get ISO Certification for IAT. 

And Lieutenant Colonel “X” will have the certificate of being an ISO Lead Auditor – which he can use to get a job in the civilian industry after he retires. 

A true “Win-Win” situation – isn’t it...?” 

I said to the Dean: 

“Sir – how is that possible...? Attending the course is mandatory for getting the certificate...” 

The Dean said to me: 

“In India  anything is possible. 

It is called Jugaad... 

You talk to the ISO guys and tell them to be a little flexible. 

Tell them that you will attend the course  but the ISO Lead Auditor Certificate is to be issued in the name of Lieutenant Colonel “X”. 

You are a bright officer and I am sure you can work it out. 

It will be a win-win situation that will satisfy everyone...”

I marvelled at the Fauji Dean’s “out of the box” thinking.

As he said  anything is possible in India by jugaad 

But – I did not have the guts to call up the ISO course organizers with this absurd proposition.

In the Defence Services  all issues are decided on the basis of seniority  and though I held the same equivalent rank as Lieutenant Colonel “X” – he was miles senior to me.

So  Lieutenant Colonel “X” went for the ISO Lead Auditor Course  and I am sure it helped him in his second innings after his retirement – since he retired soon after becoming a Certified ISO Lead Auditor  courtesy the Dean of IAT.

Of course  a few months later  I too did the ISO Lead Auditor Course.

In my case – unlike Lieutenant Colonel “X” – for whom the ISO Lead Auditor Course was a resettlement course (to rehabilitate him in civilian life)  I had to put the knowledge I gained in the course to good use in implementation of ISO Quality Management System in my organisation.

Dear Reader – do you know how ISO 9001 was implemented in a crazy “multicultural place like IAT Pune...?

Well – that’s another story  which I will tell you some other time... 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Mother and Daughter – Untold Stories – Part 1

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”

This quote by American Poet Maya Angelou is so true – at least in my case.

I have so many untold stories inside me – and – I want to tell them as quickly as possible – to alleviate the “agony” of bearing untold stories inside me.

Dear Reader:

The story I am going to tell you – it was perambulating inside me – for a long time – untold – and – I was quite hesitant to tell this story – but now – I must tell you this story – and mitigate the “agony” of carrying the burden of untold stories.

Most stories are born from “observation” and “feeling” – at least for me.

If I observe something – and – I feel about it – a story is born in my mind.

You observe so many things – but you write only about those things that stir your “feelings” – your emotions.

This story too was born many years ago – when I observed something – and the incident aroused feelings in me.

Of course – it was a simple incident – certainly not as melodramatic as the story.

But then – a writer uses his imagination to dramatize a simple observation – and convert a simple incident into fiction.

That is what fiction is all about – a dramatized version of real life.

I have been carrying this untold story inside me for a long time.

Now – it is time for me alleviate the “agony” of bearing this untold story inside me – by telling the world this story.

So – Dear Reader – let me write the story and post it on my blogs.

Fiction Short Story

“If you get married – I will kill myself…” the 15 year old daughter tells her 39 year old mother.

The daughter says this publicly – during her mother’s engagement ceremony.

“It’s just emotional blackmail…” someone says.

“It’s just a tantrum…” someone else says.

“She is bluffing…” another person says.

But – the girl isn’t bluffing.

She goes into the kitchen – picks up a knife – and she cuts her wrist.

Luckily – her mother has followed her into the kitchen.

She screams in horror – seeing the blood gushing out from her daughter’s wrist.

Everyone rushes to the kitchen and sees the ghastly sight.

They rush the daughter to hospital – and her life is saved.

As the daughter lies convalescing in the hospital bed – her mother asks her:

“Why did you do this…?”

The daughter says to her mother:

“I had told you very clearly that I don’t want you to get married – but still – you went ahead – the matrimonial ad – meeting men – and then – getting engaged . At every stage I warned you – but you refused to listen…”

The daughter’s grandmother (her mother’s mother) – she says to the young girl:

“Your mother is still young. It is better to have a man in the house…”

The young girl says to her grandmother:

“We don’t need a man in the house. We have got enough money. Papa has left us enough – and – Mamma has a good job….”

“It’s not only money…” the grandmother says, “Your family will be complete again. And you will get a father too…”

“No one can take the place of Papa – do you understand…?” the girl says angrily, “and we – Mamma and I – we are very happy as a family. We don’t need any outsider…”

“Try to be reasonable…” the grandmother says to the girl.

“You are the root cause of all this…” the girl says accusingly to her grandmother, “you are instigating her to get married…”

“Of course your mother has to get married – she is just 39 – tomorrow you will get married and go away…”

“I am not getting married tomorrow…”

“I mean – in a few years from now – you will get married and go away. Then – who will look after your mother in her old age…?”

“I will look after my mother…” the girl says, “I will finish my school, my college – get a good job – and – I will look after my Mamma for her entire life – I will not get married till she is alive…”

“You are talking nonsense…” the grandmother says.

“I am not talking nonsense…” the girl says, “I will look after my mother…”

Then – the girl looks at her mother and says:

“Mamma – I promise – I will look after you – I promise – I will not get married…”

“Okay – Okay – you take rest…” the mother says to her daughter.

“What “okay – okay”…?” the grandmother says to the mother, “the boy is very good – you will be very happy…”

“You please go away…” the girl tells her grandmother, “please leave us alone and go back to your home. We will look after ourselves…”

Then – the girl looks at her mother and says:

“Mamma – I am telling your very clearly – if you get married – I will commit suicide – and – next time – I will not fail  I will make sure that I die…”

The mother hugs her daughter and says: “Okay – I will not get married…”

The grandmother leaves for her home in the evening.

And – the woman – the mother of the girl – she gives up all thoughts of marriage. 

Story To Be Continued in Part 2...

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved) 

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Booze Wisdom : How to Measure Your Drinking Capacity (Alcohol Tolerance Level) – “Flash Point” and “Fire Point” Method

“Flash Point” and “Fire Point” Method 

There is a saying in the Navy: 

“If you want to know the true characteristics of a officer – ask his course-mates and shipmates... 

If you ask my course-mates and shipmates about me – one thing they will tell you about me  is that – in my heyday – I drank a lot of booze.

But – they will also tell you that I had enormous drinking capacity.

S– despite drinking generous quantities of alcohol – I was never seen drunk.

Yes – I was often seen in “high spirits” – but – not drunk.

(I remember only one occasion on which it can be said that I was drunk – and – I never let that happen again) 

The Navy taught me many things. 

One of the things I learnt in the Navy was how to drink alcohol.

After around 25 years of enjoyable drinking  I quit drinking around 15 years ago. 

For the benefit of posterity – I wrote a series on HOW TO DRINK ALCOHOL and posted it online on my blogs in the year 2011 – and revised versions later – in 2012 and 2013.

Nowadays – many youngsters – boys and girls – drink alcohol.

Sadly – I observe that – many youngsters do not know how to enjoy drinking – and – how to get the best from alcohol.

The evidence of this is the increased propensity towards drunkenness  which can lead to all sorts of consequences – including – personal harm, misbehaviour, violence, brawls, inappropriate behaviour, date rape, drunk driving, accidents etc

Sometime ago – during a “Cocktail Party” – which was more of a drunken spree with wild dancing – I observed many persons who got terribly drunk and made a spectacle of themselves.

From time to time – you hear of the increasing number of drunken driving accidents.

All this prompts me to delve into my alcoholic archives and post  once again  Part 4 of my series on How to Drink Alcohol on the topic HOW TO FIND OUT YOUR DRINKING CAPACITY (Alcohol Tolerance Level)

Every individual has a different drinking capacity – and if you want to avoid getting drunk – you must know your alcohol tolerance level.

Below this article – I am giving the links to my posts (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) of my series on Booze Wisdom” on HOW TO DRINK ALCOHOL.

Cheers  Enjoy !!!


( “Flash Point” and “Fire Point” Method )


It is best not to drink alcohol.

But if you do drink then you must ask yourself: 

“Why do I drink...?” 

The answer is simple. 

You drink because you want to “feel good”.

If you drink too much – you will get drunk.

When you get drunk you hardly feel or remember anything  since your senses are dulled.

But – if you get inebriated  in your intoxicated and drunken state  you will make a fool of yourself  and you may embarrass your near and dear ones.

And on the morning after your alcoholic binge  you will certainly feel miserable when you come to your senses from your drunken stupor  and suffer the pains of a terrible hangover.

The Moot Question is: HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DRINK...?

If you drink too little – well then  there is no point in drinking alcohol at all. 

You might as well have some fruit juice  or a soft drink  or a glass of milk. 

You may find it laughable  but at some parties  I have seen some persons just holding a drink in their hands just for keeping up appearances to show others that they drink.

They do this because they want to project a “proper” image before their hard drinking bosses and colleagues  and – they don’t want their hard-drinking colleagues and friends to call them a “sissy”. 

There is no shame in being a Non-Drinker Teetotaller – in fact – you should be proud of it. 

By the way  after over 25 years of “work hard  play hard  drink hard” – Navy Style Living  I too am living a life of sobriety for the last 18 years.

I write this series as I wish to share my drinking experiences with you  and enable you to take more out of alcohol than alcohol takes out of you.


If you want to truly enjoy drinking  you must drink just the right amount of alcohol that makes you feel good.

The aim of drinking alcohol is to feel HIGH  not to get Drunk.

And  of course  the aim of drinking is not to remain dead sober as a Teetotaller  in which case  it is a waste of good liquor.

So – here is the answer to the question How Much Should You Drink:

You must never drink just to keep up appearances” to avoid being called a “prude” or a “sissy”.

If you drink too little – well then  there is no point in drinking alcohol at all – besides it a waste of good liquor (and your money).

You must drink enough  just that much so that you feel high  but you must not get drunk.

And – for achieving this delightful “high” state  you must know your drinking capacity which depends on your alcohol tolerance level 


Well  it was through sheer serendipity that I discovered my drinking capacity. 

This method worked for me. 

I named it the “FLASH POINT” and “FIRE POINT” Test

To find out whether it works for you  do try it out  at your own risk  and tell us how it worked for you.

Ingredients Required for “FLASH POINT” and “FIRE POINT” Test

You will need the following which you must keep handy on a table next to your chair:

1. A Bottle of Rum or Whisky or adequate quantity of your regular drink 

(If you drink Vodka or Tequila shots  line enough of them up). 

It is best to start with a full bottle – so you can measure (estimate) the amount of liquor you are drinking.

2. A Book (with comfortable font size)

3. Water


Before I describe the technique – let me impart to you some “theory”.

If you were a science student  you must have performed a chemistry laboratory experiment to find out the FLASH POINT and FIRE POINT of a fuel. 

You start heating the volatile liquid. 

The flash point occurs when the fuel exhibits a flash. 

The fuel is heated further  and the fire point occurs when the volatile material catches fire and starts burning and continues to burn.

Applying the same analogy to drinking alcohol  you can say that your “flash point” occurs when you are “high” 

Yes – at your “flash point” you have reached your drinking capacity.

If you keep on drinking after your “flash point” – then you will reach your “fire point” – which is an inebriated state of drunkenness.  

Your aim is to remain happily high around your “flash point” – and in no circumstances must you cross your “fire point”.

But  how do you find out your “flash point”...?


Here is the technique of how to “measure” your “flash point” or drinking capacity in 10 simple steps:

1. Drink a glass of water. 

This is to stabilize you in case you are dehydrated – and to get you ready for the experiment.

2. Pour your normal drink.

3. Pick up the book and start reading.

4. Keep drinking at your normal pace and also keep reading continuously. 

Take your time  sip your drink  and focus on the book. 

If you finish your drink  pour another one. 

Keep on drinking as long as you can read easily and comprehend clearly what you are reading.

5. The moment you reach a state where your concentration starts wavering – you are reaching your “flash point”

As you drink and read – a point will come when  you can read the words  but you realize that you are not clearly registering what you are reading in your mind. 

This is your “FLASH POINT”  (feeling “high”)

At your “flash point” you will be in that delightful state of alcohol induced emotional flux which makes you feel “high”.

6. If you continue drinking alcohol beyond your “flash point” – you will reach a hazy state where the words in the book will appear blurred  and  you have difficulty in reading  as your eyes may not focus properly.

You have now reached your “FIRE POINT” (alcohol induced intoxication).

7. Once you reach your “fire point” – you must stop drinking alcohol immediately.

Now drink a glass of water and relax. 

Soon  you will gravitate back from your “fire point” towards your “flash point”  and feel less drunk.

However – if you continue drinking beyond your “fire point” – you will get inebriated and become drunk.

8. Measure (estimate) the amount of liquor you have drunk to reach your “FLASH POINT”. 

This is your “drinking capacity” or alcohol tolerance level (as on that day).

9. Repeat this experiment a number of times (on different days) – yes – do the “FLASH POINT”“FIRE POINT” experiment at least 10 times.

10. By successive iteration  fine tune the results  and soon  you will know your drinking capacity (alcohol tolerance level).


There is a saying: 

“First you drink alcohol  and then alcohol drinks you”.


Till you reach your “flash point”  you are the one drinking alcohol

At your “flash point” – you have reached the limit of your control  but you still have control.

Near your “flash point” you will experience the “high” feeling which alcohol gives you.

When you get this “high” feeling – you must stop drinking at once.

You will remain “high” for sometime  enjoying the euphoric sensation  and then you will have a pleasant relaxing feeling as the “high” gradually tapers off  and  this is the best time to drift off into a nice sleep. 

However – if you continue drinking beyond your “flash point” – you will reach your “fire point”.

Once you reach your “fire point” – you will lose control  and – alcohol will take charge of you.

Now  it is the alcohol which will “drink” you  and you will get drunk

Let me sound a note of caution.

If you drink frequently  your alcohol tolerance will increase.

Increased Alcohol Tolerance means that after continued drinking  consumption of a constant amount of alcohol produces a lesser effect  which means that larger amounts of alcohol are necessary to produce the same effect

Thus  you will need to drink more alcohol to reach your “flash point” to get a “high”

In effect  if you drink regularly – your “drinking capacity” increases

As you continue drinking  this has a snowballing effect.

Having a great drinking capacity may be a “macho” thing to boast about  and may win the admiration of your friends and colleagues.

However  high alcohol tolerance indicates a propensity towards alcoholism – in later years.

So – you better watch out.

High alcohol tolerance level (good drinking capacity) is not necessarily something to be proud of  or to boast about.

Regular consumption of alcohol will raise your drinking capacity. 

This in turn will tempt you drink more to reach your “flash point” (to feel “high”). 

It is a vicious cycle. 

As your alcohol tolerance level increases – you will start drinking more and more to feel “high” – and – this in turn will further increase your alcohol tolerance level. 

And  if you continue this habit of drinking – you may develop alcohol dependence  and you may eventually slip into the abyss of alcoholism.

So  if you realize that your “flash point” has increased – it is best to abstain from drinking for a few days  till your “flash point” falls to a reasonable level.

The less you drink  the better it is for your body. 

So  in fact  it is advantageous to have a low drinking capacity.

But then – you must remember never to cross your “flash point”.

Avoid binge drinking and competitive drinking – as this can damage your health.

Like I said in the beginning  it is best not to drink alcohol  but if you do drink  remember  as Winston Churchill once said  that:

You must take more out of Alcohol – than Alcohol takes out of You.

And  how do you do that...? 

Well – that I will tell you in my series on the golden rules of drinking alcohol.



May you never reach your “FIRE POINT”


The Aim of Drinking Alcohol is to feel HIGH  Not to get DRUNK 

Do let me know if this “Flash Point” and “Fire Point” method helped you discover your drinking capacity.

Here are some of my articles on BOOZE WISDOM in my Series HOW TO DRINK ALCOHOL (click url links and read:


Have you found out your drinking capacity...?

Did this method work for you...?

I look forward to your feedback.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This article is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)