The story of BGR is also the story of several young men who began their careers at the Shimoga main branch. These young men charted out on their own careers after leaving the branch on promotion or otherwise. But BGR can take pride in the fact that these men developed their wings under his able guidance in the initial days of their career. It was like the young birds moving out of the comforts of the nest to leave their parents behind! But there was a major difference. Unlike the young birds, these men do remember BGR and keep in touch with him till today! Here I am making an attempt to briefly sketch the characters of some of them from my memory.
K Vittala V Shetty (KVS)
KVS was a very intelligent and mischievous person. He hailed from the district of South Kanara. He would pick up the work fast in any department entrusted to him. He was friendly by nature. But the friendship came at a cost! He would not hesitate to make fun of even his close friends if he got an opportunity. One had to be extremely careful to avoid inviting funny comments from him.
Balakrishna Bhat (BKB)
BKB joined our bank after completing his B.Com degree from Shimoga National College. He was junior to most of us. He had certain special qualities that attracted comments from KVS. Like all other young men, BKB also had a weakness for the fair sex. While the others were able to keep this weakness hidden, BKB was often making it too obvious!
The cashier’s job in the bank used to be boring and risky most of the time. But the Shimoga main branch had a separate cash counter for the SB account holders. The handling of cash here was a simple affair as the amount of individual receipts and payments were small as compared to the business cash counters. The chance of losing cash here was negligible. But what made this counter attractive was the monthly salary payment of the teachers of the Mary Immaculate Convent of Shimoga! The school had young and good-looking lady teachers who would visit the bank only to draw their monthly salaries.
Like all other young cashiers, BKB also enjoyed making payments to the giggling young convent teachers. But one day he was so carried away by the giggling crowd that he messed up the payment of another depositor! Holding two cheques in his hands, he called the token number for one cheque. The depositor gave him the token. BKB made him the payment of the other cheque. While the token pertained to the payment of Rs1,000, BKB paid him Rs2,000 by mixing up the payments. The person was an employee of the Department of Telephones. He gladly accepted the payment and disappeared within no time! BKB called the number of the other token and paid him Rs1,000. But he refused the payment saying he wanted the full payment of Rs2,000! BKB was perplexed!
The amount of Rs1,000 was quite huge in those day standards. When BKB woke up to the reality, the beneficiary of his blunder had bolted away! It was obvious that the excess payment had been made to the employee of the telephone department. It was a question of locating the employee. Everybody thought that he would willingly pay back the excess amount. However, it was important to tackle the matter intelligently. BGR took an expert called NRG Prasad with him to the telephone office on his Bajaj Vespa. Prasad was a master in handling tough guys. But his skills did not work on this occasion. The employee refused point blank that he had received excess payment of Rs1,000! He had already placed the excess money in a safe place at the cost of BKB!
BKB had to pay back the money to the bank in monthly installments. He used to curse the telephone employee every month on the salary day! But the matter did not end there. The employees of the telephone department had a strong union. They came to our bank one day and demonstrated in front of the office! They alleged that one of their employees was being harassed by our branch staff for none of his fault! They threatened us with dire consequences if the persecution of their innocent colleague continued in future! The demonstrators included the (innocent!) person who was the beneficiary of the generosity of BKB!
Our Shimoga main branch did not have any lady staff other than the typist quite for some time. Needless to say the 100 percent male team composition was not an interesting scenario! But soon the things started changing for the better! A lady employee called Harini was transferred to our branch from Bangalore. Harini’s husband was an employee of the Mysore Paper Mills in Bhadravathi. Harini was allotted the Tappal (dispatch) department on reporting. At that time BKB was working in term deposits section and his table was close to the tappal department table. As Harini was the only lady employee, the male employees were understandably interested in talking to her. But as already mentioned by me, BKB was ahead of others and he made it too obvious!
Harini had already worked in Bangalore branches and was capable of finishing her work on her own. But BKB started expressing extra sympathies to her by assisting her in her normal work. He would finish his work with extraordinary speed and move his chair to the table of madam in the afternoon daily! He would sit in front of her and assist her in writing the addresses, etc. All of us were watching this daily exercise with amusement! Our KVS was also witnessing this daily Tamasha and was waiting for an opportunity to create a scene!
One particular afternoon BKB finished his work in a hurry and pulled his chair to take it to the table of the madam. But to his surprise, the chair simply refused to move! KVS was watching the scene and asked loudly whether BKB needed his assistance to move the chair! All of us turned behind to see what was going on. We could find out the reasons for the chair refusing to move. KVS had tied up the chair to the table of BKB by using a long thread! He had done his job during the lunch hour without bringing it to the notice of BKB!
All of us started laughing loudly much to the embarrassment of BKB and madam Harini. But KVS had done his job! The message had been delivered! BKB stopped assisting Harini madam from that day! Both KVS and BKB completed their CAIIB and were promoted in their first attempt.
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
19th June 2012