MEMORIES WORTH SHARING....


All individuals have so many memorable incidents during their lives, some of which can bring forth joy and laughter to others and are enjoyable to read about, and these in particular need to be shared with others. Incidents between the Big Boss and the very junior staff during the corporate career bring out familiar chords of memory to many, and provide considerable amusement, and therefore, are usually worth recounting!

These incidents need to be viewed in the context of the "British Raj" days not long ago, with the very formal heirarchial formality predominating in the day to day behaviour expectations normally, and especially from the junior staff. The easy going environment of today was certainly not expected without the permission of the top brass! Now, read on...

During a cold winter morning when trudging to the factory nearby for early shift duty, one of my young colleagues, who was well covered up against the weather, noticed a car headlight behind. He assumed it to be the shift vehicle for the senior staff, and waved it to a stop. He noted that other than the driver, there were no other occupant, so he opened the rear door, got in and instructed the driver “factory chalo - jaldi se”, and settled down comfortably for the ride in the dark. Unfortunately for him, it was not the shift car - to which he was not entitled to ride in the first place - but it was our Unit Head going for his round of golf ! He was however sporting enough not to spoil his day, and only when the security staff at the gate started saluting the Burra Sahib, then my young colleague realized what was happening! It took him a long while to live down this day!

Another incident happened long ago on April 1st 1953, when I was one of the two new Management Trainees, and our Production Director was visiting the Branch. I had luckily met him the previous evening, and he wanted to meet the second Trainee that morning. Our Branch Manager, a strict Scotsman, sent a message to call him to his office. Sadly, there had been the usual April foolery going on that morning within the factory, many being such messages calling someone or the other, so my friend decided to ignore this very unusual call from the God Almighty himself! When the peon came again the second time, he noticed some of his colleagues were smiling, so he was sure that this was a joke, and told the peon “parchi lao” - i.e. bring a note. He did get one soon enough with his name and the Branch Manager’s familiar initials, all in thick red pencil - and had then to face the flushed waiting Unit Head embarrassed by the junior newcomer in front of the visiting director. Fortunately, after the severe dressing down, which he expected would be the end of his short career, the humorous side was sportingly appreciated by both!

Yet another story is that of a smart young hopeful who had been called for an interview at the Head Office. He was all suited and booted up, and waiting for the lift to take him to the third floor, when he noted that an informally dressed oldish person with bushy eyebrows, staring at him quite intensely. During the ride, he asked the young man if he was working in the Company, to which he replied “I hope to”, and thereafter added airily “what about you?” The terse answer was “yes”, and by that time, the second floor had come, where the gentleman got off. The liftman advised the young man that he was talking with the Chairman of ITC ! This young man lived (in ITC) to tell this tale....