During my final three years in uniform at Air HQ, my job was to daily write file noting and briefs, technical things, without any scope for humour. After all, what humour can you add in E=MC2.None of my superiors ever read my briefs, they already knew all aboutE=MC2. If I had to write briefs that had to be sent to MoD, sycophancy was made to drip like honey fromE=MC2. But the lowly amoeba ‘Desk Officer’ Mr Yashpal, his job in MoD was to act like a postal employee, franking with selfinking rubber stamp ‘Bugger Off’, right on top of my dripping honey. So it was a complete waste of my time. Nevertheless, that was my job, and hence I persevered. In retrospect, it was very stupid of me to be conscientious, when none wanted me to be so!
Once in a while I had to write briefs for the CAS (Chief of Air Staff) too, routed through DASR, ACAS (Plans), DCAS to the Chief, all of whom took great pains to proofread and correct Queen’s ‘E’. The illustrious and most affable CAS was very fond of me, but not my W-front armour piercing contact fused briefs! Due to his macho Alpha male perception, the CAS would not wear specs or contacts. He was blind as a bat (short sight, myopia). Also, as is common with all those who pip past Maj. Gen. (& equivalents), while they are still in uniform, the CAS perhaps had mild ‘dyslexia’(difficulty in reading and comprehending anything, other than his own perception). Double trouble for me, especially when I had to write highly complex technical briefs, E=MC2 type with no sense of humour.
Once I was briefed by my equally conscientious venerable boss for two hours, and asked to write a brief for CAS on who he should meet, what he must do, and technology that he must look out for during his forthcoming visit to Farnborough air show. Dutifully I sent around a note to all directorates in Air HQ, including the ‘Camp Commandant’, my course mate Dayalu, asking for their views, especially latest technology in office chairs. I didn’t have a chair and used to sit on piled up 4” thick volumes of MTNL telephone directories.
When I compiled every one’s views, it became a 1000 page encyclopaedia, which I knew the chief will not read. So I did précis writing, again and again to cut it short, even taking out articles, prepositions, verbs, pronouns and everything else in ‘Wren & Martin’ that gives the Queen of England a mighty ‘O’. Finally, I even tried writing it like it is done in Army HQ, to help morons to write English without spelling mistakes (like ‘recce’ for reconnaissance, ‘laz’ for liaison, ‘mvre’ for manoeuvre, ‘rv’ for rendezvous etc). After much strenuous constipation, I produced a masterpiece, condensing 1000 pages to about 50 pages without missing any points from Tom, Dick or Dayalu, especially my neighbour in Prince’s Park, Dayalu and his charming wife Rita. All of this ‘Shakespearian’ effort took time and the Chief was to leave the same night. Reason why I decided to use the NH bypass circular road around my bosses, the DASR, ACAS (Plans) and DCAS, short cut through the Staff Officer’s room, sneak in through the CAS’s toilet. Very proudly I went directly to the Chief, like the ‘Roman Centurion’ going to meet Caesar. I was hoping that the Chief, on his return from Farnborough would at least sanction a R&D technology demonstrator office chair, that looked like an ejection seat, strongly recommended by the Camp Commandant as long term replacement scheme for MTNL telephone directory to sit on in Air HQ.
‘What is it?’, the Chief asked me with annoyance, because I had caught him early morning, as soon as he sat down in his chair that did resemble an ejection seat. ‘A brief for you Sire’, I said humbly and respectfully. ‘It is about who you should meet, what you must do, and technology that you must look out for during your forthcoming visit to Farnborough air show’, I said witlessly, with no sign of tact. I have foot in the mouth disease. The illustrious CAS hiccupped and very justly threw the report at me.
‘Go away, and don’t come back’, he commanded like King Solomon. ‘What happened?’ my boss asked when I returned to my throne of MTNL telephone directories, looking sad and forlorn.
‘Chief didn’t like the brief’, I said tactfully, rather unusual for me.
‘Do it again’, my boss ordered. ‘Do it the way Chief likes it, we have to have a note in the file that we have briefed the Chief’, he said and vanished. My boss was a stickler for propriety and file noting, recorded for the benefit of C&AG as well as posterity.
So I sat down and typed, ‘Bon Voyage’ on a single A4 size paper, Ariel 72 font and took it back to the Chief, once again sneaking in through the toilet, lest the AA waylay me, as was his job. By then the Chief had drunk his tea, ate biscuits and gone for a pee. So he was not suffering from hypoglycaemia. He was in a good mood.
‘What is it now?’ he growled.
I put the single sheet of brief in front of him without saying tactless things.
He picked it up, held it at arm’s length and squinted at it.
He then got up from his ejection seat, grabbed my hand and shook it.
‘This is how a brief must be made for the Chief’, he gave me a compliment. ‘Do you want to come with me to Farnborough?’ he asked very graciously.
‘No Sir’ I replied with a smile.
It was a pleasure to please the fine chief, I was very proud to be his minion.
‘Why not?’ He asked with a frown.
‘Sire, the British MI-6 & SAS have shoot at sight orders to kill me, because I screw their Queen’s ‘E’ every time I write a brief’, I said, and ran off from the Chief’s office without looking back, this time through AA’s office. He didn’t waylay outbound traffic.
Finally when British-ers got fed up, their venerable High-Commissioner issued me a ‘De Marche, Tout De Suite’. Before they laid claim for me under ‘Indo-UK extradition treaty, in return for Mallya’, I voluntarily marched out of the IAF for the last time. Singlehanded, I then went to war with the British, to teach ‘British-ers’ to learn to ‘ish-crew’ Queens ‘E’ without ‘Running Martins’, especially on the ‘Speak In Hinglishdays’ in their House of Commons. It then became their acceptable parliamentary language, even to use Punjabi MC & BC once in a while. The latest ‘E’ dictionary defines the people of Britain as ‘British-ers’, as we say in India. I confess that I copied psy war tactics of Dr Goebbels. It took me two decades. But ‘British-ers’ and ‘Englishers’ are now ‘jusht loving it’, like the fraud Chicken Tikka Masala. They are now ‘satanding and ish-crewing their Q’s E, ishslowly, ish-slowly’. I think that is why they voted ‘Brexit’, all of them want to exit Britain and migrate, come right back to India to rule!
‘What a good’ it will be Sir-Jee, to have a ‘Wise-Roy’ back on Raisina Hill, instead of the ‘Han-Jee’s with ‘Vices’.
Rimcolian, Ex NDA, a QFI and Exp Test Pilot, Wg Cdr Unni Kartha (Cyclic), PG (Aerospace Design), MaESI, MBA served in the AF for 23 yrs. Raised and commanded a Mi-35 Sqn and took PMR in 1994. Afterwards did extreme engineering in myriad technology with multinationals, in India and abroad, for 22 yrs. ‘Make in India’ entrepreneur of ‘Advanced Technology, Unique Machines’.With his boots off, in his sunset years in Hyderabad, he also writes sentimental and humorous stories of his very mischievous youth,to amuse and motivate the younger generation, on his blog http://cyclicstories.blogspot.in/ He can be contacted on 9810252959.