P Krishna Rao (PK)
P Krishna Rao (PK) was among the senior staff in our branch at the time of my joining the bank. He was a jolly handsome man who was more popularly known as ‘Peekay’ on account of his drinking habit. He was a close friend of K G Bhaskar (KGB) who remained a bachelor till the very end. But as a person PK was an antithesis of KGB. While KGB was a teetotaler and totally avoided the fair sex, PK relished drinking and landed in an affair with the first woman employee of our branch.
The employee was the daughter of an insurance agent who was a customer of our branch. I had just completed about three months of service in the bank in the Savings Bank counter at that time. The other person in my department was a person called K S Vailaya (KSV), who was three months senior to me in service. KSV was a confused personality who somehow had developed a vision that all good things in life were being denied to him! One particular day the insurance agent, an elderly person, told us that his daughter had received the appointment order to join our branch. The moment he heard it, KSV started grumbling and looking at me enviously! But I was clueless about the sudden change in the attitude of KSV.
KSV’s strange behavior with me continued on the next day also. I was curious and asked him what was wrong with him. He then told me that I was a very lucky guy while he was unlucky as usual! I wanted him to reveal the sudden lucky development in my case. The cat was then out of the bag! According to him, it was the practice in the branch to put the new employee in the SB counter. Since he had already completed six months in SB counter, he expected that he would be shifted to another department. Then I would be the lucky guy to partner the lady at the SB counter!
Actually KSV was right in expecting such a placement after the lady joined the bank. I confirmed the same with the accountant. But at that stage of my service, I was focused on my work and knew that it was advisable for me to move to a new department as I had enough of SB counter in three months. At my request the accountant allotted me the bills collection department. Thus I surrendered my lucky chance to KSV who grabbed the opportunity with both hands!
But KSV’s elations were short-lived. Soon he understood that the lady was slow in her work and the major burden of work at the counter fell on him. But the worst thing was - she was dumb to the overtures of KSV! So much so that he wanted to get out of the department! While he did get the opportunity to get out, it was again another hard luck situation for him. He was posted to the new branch in Honnali – a place that lacked basic facilities in those days!
But the lady proved that she was not so dumb after all. While she was aloof with KSV, she opened up to the overtures of PK who was definitely very handsome and smart! In fact he was a look alike of the famous Kannada writer U R Ananthamurthy (URA) in his younger days. Besides, PK was promoted as officer and was retained in our branch. There was a major change in his lifestyle. He became a regular at the newly opened Blue Star Bar near our branch. He purchased a brand new Rajdhooth motorbike and was all charms unlimited! He was the most eligible bachelor in the Shimoga city! Naturally he got his pillion rider within no time! Mind you, it was not his close friend KGB!
The affair grew stronger by the day. So much so whenever the lady’s father (the insurance agent) visited the branch, some of PK’s colleagues would tell him that his ‘father-in-law’ had arrived! To avoid embarrassment, her father got her transferred to another local branch. We were all curious to know whether the affair would end up in marriage as it happened in the case of URA. PK’s case was simpler as it was a question of inter-community marriage unlike the complicated inter-religion marriage of URA.
But the story ended exactly like a typical Bollywood Hindi movie. In fact the climax was even more dramatic and suspenseful. PK did end up marrying one of the employees of our bank. But the employee was not the daughter of the insurance agent with whom he had a long-term affair! The ‘twist in the tale’ remains a mystery till today.
PK got his promotions in time and worked in Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Bangalore. At the fag end of his service, he took voluntary retirement as senior manager. But his drinking and smoking habits caught up with him. He was hospitalized and died early. May his soul rest in peace!
C N Nagaraj (CNN)
C N Nagaraj (CNN) was our second manager in Shimoga branch. He succeeded N Gundu Rao, a nice and cool personality, who was transferred to our Hassan branch. As mentioned earlier, BGR had already worked under CNN at Gandhinagar branch in Bangalore. CNN was a 6 & ½’ fair complexioned gigantic and commanding personality. So much so that even 5’10’’ people like me would develop a Gulliver and Lilliput syndrome while standing in front of him!
CNN’s arrival at our branch coincided with the allotment of a brand new Mahindra & Mahindra Jeep to our branch. A driver called Sakharam Shetty was also appointed. CNN put the vehicle to full use. He was actually more interested in social activities and within a short time became a highly popular personality in Shimoga. He had full confidence in BGR and left the internal affairs of the branch under his full control. CNN focused more on the outdoor activities.
While CNN left the internal affairs to BGR, he also went on a loan granting spree at the branch. For CNN, the sanction of loans was a one-way traffic. He never bothered about the repayment capacity of the borrower! In fact he hated the very idea of the recovery of loans. It was virtually a FF scheme (finance and forget) for him! His borrowing clients were widely spread – from small-scale industries to Jutka (Tonga) owners and petty shop keepers! The customers took full advantage of his generosity!
As a person, CNN was very kind hearted and jovial. He conducted a special programme in Shimoga under the auspices of the Canara Bank Social Welfare Cell, which was a grand success. He used to participate in Kannada dramas. We thought his acting skills were fully recognised when he was asked to play a role in a Kannada film. But it all ended up in an anticlimax!
It happened like this. A Kannada film production team visited Shimoga with the intention of shooting major portion of the story in the Shimoga city and its surroundings. The popular Kannada film star B V Radha was playing the major role in the film. The team had some members known to CNN. Upon its arrival in Shimoga, the team sought the help of CNN - knowing his interest in Kannada dramas. CNN was quite pleased to associate with the team. He spent major portion of his time with the team and even the bank jeep was at its disposal.
The team suddenly realised that the person who was to play the role of B V Radha’s father was missing. They were on the lookout for a replacement. Someone came up with the suggestion - ‘why not CNN?’ CNN grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The shooting went on and on. CNN was found more with the team than at the bank. He was back at the branch after the team said good bye to Shimoga. The news of CNN’s role in the Kannada film became the talk of the town.
All of us were waiting for the release of the film eagerly. In fact we wanted to see the first show of the film on the first day. But the film did not see the light of the day till a very long time. Almost a year later we came to know that the film had been released in Bangalore. The people who saw the film told us that they could not identify any role played by CNN in the film. But a more serious and focused person told us that he could identify the role of CNN. It seems the editing team had eliminated the role of the father of B V Radha in the film for reasons only known to it. But they had recognised the presence of CNN in the film. They had displayed a photograph of the late father of B V Radha prominently at her home duly garlanded. The photograph was that of our beloved CNN!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
17th July 2012