It was on 6th February 1959 that BGR commenced his first day in the job at Canara Bank. He reported at the Administrative Office to Shri M V Bhat, Accountant, exactly at 9.45 am with all the enthusiasm and high spirits of an 18-year young man. At 10 am Bhat took him to the typing section and introduced him to the 3-member typist team headed by Somnath Narayan. Somnath straightaway assigned him a Halda typewriter to work on. He also introduced him to the other two typists – K P Puttaram and K R Vasu.
Somnath came to know that BGR had no previous experience and was totally new to the office work. He told BGR not to worry and to concentrate on picking up the work fast. He assured him full support from his side. His friendly attitude helped BGR to develop confidence in learning the work. Somnath gave him a brief on the nature of letters he was expected to type out. He also told him that the establishment department was directly under the DGM Bhandary assisted by the DM U K Kini and five superintendents. The matters dealt with included staff, premises, provident fund and public relations.
To begin with BGR was given six letters to type out. He was given printed forms and it was a matter of filling up blank columns by typing out the matter. He began typing at 10.20 am. He had some problems in reading the handwritings and Somnath helped him out. Once he completed the typing, Somnath went through them and pointed out certain mistakes. He was also asked retype some letters. This exercise developed confidence in BGR. He exhibited the same in the next lot of letters given to him by typing them without mistakes.
At 1.00 pm Somnath asked BGR to go for lunch. Now that he had started the office work satisfactorily, BGR wanted to get introduced to some of his colleagues. He did it with two of the colleagues – I S Bhat and P Vasu. Both of them were from Udupi. They appeared quite friendly and BGR took the opportunity to ask them to help him in getting accommodation. The two were staying in Modern Hotel near the bank and were paying Rs30 per month for a room and two meals. They assured him that they would take him to the hotel in the evening.
In the afternoon BGR was quite comfortable with his Halda typewriter and completed the typing of some more letters given by Somnath. There was big tray wherein the peons would drop the draft letters for typing. Somnath would distribute the letters according to the priority of the matter. BGR also observed that a big bunch of letters were dropped in the tray at about 4.15 pm. He thought he may have to sit late to finish all those letters. But Somnath told him not to worry. He told him that he could leave at 5 pm and the remaining letters could be typed on the next day. Exactly at 5 pm Somnath stopped the work, closed his typewriter with a cover and told BGR to follow suit and leave. As BGR was coming out of the office, a thought came to his mind that he had earned a salary of Rs2.50 for the day’s work. He felt quite happy.
BGR found the pair of IS Bhat and P Vasu waiting outside to take him to the hotel. They took him to the hotel which was about 200 yards from the bank. He was shown a vacant room with a cot. The toilet and bathroom facilities were common. BGR also saw the rooms the two were occupying already. The two asked him whether he was interested. BGR had been advised by his mother and Pema that he should look for an accommodation immediately after appointment. It was necessary for him to leave the Mama’s house at the earliest. He gave his consent to the hotel accommodation and paid an advance of Rs10 he had carried in his purse. He was happy that he was getting the company of two of his colleagues at the hotel.
BGR’s Mama and Mami were quite pleased to hear his first day experience in the bank. He also told them about the hotel accommodation and that he would shift his belongings in the next day morning. He went out for a long walk around Basavanagudi. He was feeling on top of the world having landed in a bank job and completing the first day at work successfully. He finished his dinner and went to bed fully relieved of the pressure he had faced all these days. He felt he could learn the job well under the able guidance of Somnath Narayan. Was he really lucky to get a mentor like Somnath in the beginning of his career? Indeed he was! But the guidance was not to last long as BGR came to learn shortly!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
8th April 2012