Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Great Minds I came across

What is a memoir ?
Or What should be a memoir? 
I read a lot of them.
 People who thought that they did a lot, write them. 
Mostly on what they achieved .
Where they did not ,  up goes their pointed finger.
who came on their way ? 
A blame game !!  
Most possibly never look at, as they finish writing their memoirs. 
what was there  worth  sharing with others? 

 That these biographies /memoirs or by whatever names one calls them,
are just an uneven mixture of ups and downs of banal nay mundane things.
Everyone knows. None says. Why embarrass an old man !

 A good memoir, to me , should be dwelling more on what impacted one's way of living and loving those around. 

You speak of the Great Minds you came across.
 You narrate the Great Events that helped redesign the roads you travelled.
 You recollect those humans not just higher-ups who helped you discover the strengths in you.

Possibly these could be the basics of memoirs . 

 Let it be.

 How many of us remember that huge fire at LIC Buildings on Anna Salai (then Mount Road) at Chennai? 

It happened just like that on 11th July 1975. 

 Precious policy records, tables, typewriters and scores of almirahs went up on flame and got destroyed. Nothing worthwhile was found above 3rd or 4th floor, as most of them were reduced to just ashes.

 Personal Files of employees relating to their appointments, transfers, promotions, leave records were along part of them. 

 A day after the fire was fully doused, most of them sighed with relief, as the floors below 2nd or 3rd however were not that much affected.

 Water used to douse fires had submerged the machines and possibly records departments. 

 Three our Four days after, one could see our own workmen, among them several elderly on the verge of retirement too struggling in knee deep water to pick up and rearrange Adrema plates, punched cards, remove water from IBM machines.  I remember one GANAPATHIRAMAN who stood for seventy two hours at a stretch and was part of the DAMAGE-CONTROL JOBS.
There were equally others too. Dozens of them.  Nameless heroes. Never to be forgotten.

 Theirs was a mission noble. It was a catastrophic loss, no doubt. Reconstruction and rebuilding of records took several years. 

Today , as I remember the great fire, the massive garbages followed by the selfless services rendered by our own colleagues (a good many of them would have vacated the planet by this time ),  I also feel whether any of us  today salute the brave men and women who faced the ordeal that day !

 A fall-out of their fire was in another direction too.

 It came as a full solar eclipse to some sixty to seventy of us waiting at the various offices of the southern zone (then Andhra and Karnataka were also there ).

 We had already been promoted but placed in the Waiting List . Hardly  we least expected Agni Bhagawan, the Lord of Fire,  to consume this list also.

That  ZO  had priorities other than honoring this list was also understandable, in view of the then prevailing situation.

 When the whole ship sinks, you can't  be searching  your silky aprons. 

 A few months' afterwards however a few of us, in the list, were placed at a higher artificial cadre . They called the post as an officiating one.

 Technically Class III but my ego said class I you belong to. 
 My ego prevented me from signing the attendance register along with others, which I used to till then for full 14 years.

 The elevation ( ! ) appeared to console feelings of being left dry and orphaned for not less than twelve long years of my wait. I never enjoyed , you know, the luxury of love of my bosses, which enabled those days a quick jump on the basis of unseen confidential reports. I never felt jealous with them. You get what you deserve when you deserve.

Back to the story,

 I had before me a bigger table that I thought added to my stature.

 I was Officiating .AAO of the Loan Section/PHS Dept. With Blessings from my ADM, I started my job

Hardly two months would have elapsed, I got an insight into what I am. 

 One day I can never forget. 

 As I entered my hall at 9.45 a.m. I could see  a big queue . Not unusual those days. 
 Loans Section was always busy with a milling crowd.   Mostly we saw  faces  which revealed their  urgent need for money. Those days, the minimum loan was just Rs.100/-. Around 80 to 90 per cent of party waiting loans fell under just  five hundred rupees. 

 Every day, around  70 policy holders came  from all the places from Karur on the west, to Karaikkal on the east. on the other side. 

Pre-decentralisation days, they were.
Only D.Os. sanctioned loans.  

 The HGA as usual was distributing loan request forms, receiving filled-up applications, another attached the bond, got the parties' signature, a third one calculated, which was verified again by the HGA....etc..,...etc. 

 This process used to go on and on till 3.30 p.m. Around 1.00 p.m. parties eligible for cash payment (those days maximum cash was restricted to  Rs.250) will be called.Cheque payments were made around 3.30 pm. 

 Around 11.30 a.m. I had a feeling that my senior HGA and the other two Assistants processing loans were missing from their seats. 

A few waiting parties came to me , jumbled something. I turned around to find what happened to my friends colleagues who I always know to be workaholics ! 

 I looked through a nearby window outside. Our Department was in the 2nd floor.
 All these three friends were apparently talking to someone , may be a policyholder, at the entrance near the main gate.

What happened ?  Why they should go there?
 Was there any quarrel ? Is there some verbal duel ?

 Before I could understand what has happened, I had before me another colleague of mine, working as a Cl IV staff, in the SDM;s Sectl, who said: Sir  calls  you. 

 "What for ?" I did not ask him. I knew he would not know that. 

 It was not difficult to imagine that some uneasy situation could have developed. 

 Even before I noticed it, it should have gone to the notice of SDM I thought. I rushed to SDM;s cabin.

 The SDM was a core disciplinarian. 

The days were Emergency Days.  You know now who he ws.

 "What is happening at the gate ? He yelled at me angrily.  
 "I don't know really Sir. I shall go and check up." I said sheepishly.

 "You are AAO.You don'tknow what your men do ?" 
 "Sir, in a minute, I shall come back." 
Saying this, I rushed downstairs. 

 Hardly had I reached the entrance, I saw our cashier come from nowhere with some cash. He hands it over to the person. Gets the signature of the person in the voucher, returns to his pavilion in the same speed. 

Job over.  
My  friends call an auto rickshaw help the man get inside, tell the driver of the auto to go to the hospital immediately. The auto rickshaw leaves the office. 

 My friends look at me.

 "Sury ! He is a policyholder from Thiruthuraipoondi, near Vedaranyam.

Has come to get admitted in the Govt.Hospital. They said they needed a loan on the policy for the medical expenses. When we saw the man could not climb the stairs, we all came down.

காலத்தி னாற்செய்த நன்றி சிறிதெனினும் 
ஞாலத்தின் மாணப் பெரிது.

" Tears rolled down my eyes. I hugged my men. 

 He is not  just my friend. He is God.

 Came down to help a man in distress and dire need. 

 I understood what we meant by


 Is it valluvar who said:
காலத்தி னாற்செய்த நன்றி சிறிதெனினும் 
 ஞாலத்தின் மாணப் பெரிது.
I can never forget this in my life.

 I know u ask me " Who are they ?"

 Two of them I remember.
 One is no more now. 

He is Ramachary, my great friend. 
who always cares for others.
(if i remember right, he retired from some office at Coimbatore. around 1997 as ADM )

 Great men are known by their actions. 
 Not by their designations.