K S Pranesh Rao (KSP), KNV Murthy (KNV) & AVK Murthy (AVK)
The Shimoga story will not be complete without my writing about my friendship with KSP and KNV. Actually I am unable to recollect exactly the circumstances under which the three of us formed a friendship group. KSP came to our branch on transfer from Tumkur about six months after I joined the bank. He was nearly one year senior to me in service. KNV joined our branch as a new recruit six months after my joining. It seems the two had already formed a friendship before I joined them. But once I joined them we became a close-knit group and we never looked back.
KNV Murthy (KNV)
KNV had already lost his father and was living with two elder brothers, a younger sister and mother in Shimoga. His eldest brother Kanthesh Murthy was a lecturer in English at the D V S College, while the other elder brother Ramamurthy was with the United India General Insurance. The youngest sister was studying. KNV and I had a common goal - to complete the marriage of our younger sister. Our entire focus was on this only target at that time. We were building a corpus of savings with this sole motive. With the arrival of BGR in our branch, we aimed at another target – to complete CAIIB and secure a promotion in the bank.
K S Pranesh Rao (KSP)
KSP was a handsome young man whose father was a Sub-Inspector in the Police Department. Unlike me and KNV, the only (elder) sister of KSP was already married and his line was clear! KSP had one more advantage. His father had made plenty of money in the police department. The concept of Lokayukta was not even thought of in those days! The employees working in the departments like police, sales tax, RTO, revenue (Sub-Registrar’s office) were free to make money. But the scale of corruption was nowhere near the present day standards!
KSP’s father had not only made money, he had also invested the same wisely. Besides substantial fixed deposits in our branch, he had three-four sites in Bangalore. In fact one of the responsibilities of KSP was to get the deposits renewed from time to time by keeping a track. Besides, he was also entrusted with the overseeing the construction of houses on the sites in Bangalore.
I should stress here that the friendship of three of us was so close that we could have been models for the Fevicol brand! We made it a point to meet every evening after our bank duty. While I was staying in a bachelor accommodation, KSP and KNV stayed with their families. All the three of us would freshen up and meet at a shop called Jayanti Traders, near the Mary Immacculate Convent on B H Road. We would then visit the room of K G Bhaskar near the Mylareshwara temple. The next destination would be the Meenakshi Bhavan Hotel. Thereafter we would go and wait at the National High School Circle for some other colleagues to arrive. The chit chat session would extend till 8.30 pm.
The three of us were meticulous on one week-end programme. The moment our working hours ended on Saturdays, we would leave the branch. After the routine Tiffin at Manohara Café, we could be found watching some Hindi film in any one of the theatres in Shimoga. Actually our film watching spree just coincided with the arrival of the Super Star Rajesh Khanna on the silver screen. We never looked back unlike Khanna!
Between the three of us, KNV was more of a professional. He would deal things in a matter of fact way. But I was more of a sentimental person. Over a period of time my attachment with KSP grew more personal. So much so, I always wanted to be in his company. While KNV had some family commitments, the two of us would watch morning shows on several Sundays. Our attachment grew fast. The real problem started when KSP’s marriage was fixed.
KSP’s fiancée was the daughter of a senior accounts controller in the Karnataka Electricity Board (KEB). Once the marriage was fixed, KSP started himself getting readied for the D-day. He bought a Lambretta scooter (the alternative for the coveted Bajaj Vespa). At that time KSP was the senior most clerk in our branch and was getting temporary supervisory duties on a regular basis. He was entitled to the additional allowance of Rs550+DA. It was a princely sum in those day standards. To impress his would-be-father-in-law, KSP told him that he was a supervisor in our bank.
The bride was the eldest daughter of her father and he wanted to confirm that his son-in-law was placed in a good position in the bank. He sent one of his (KEB) employees to our branch to see personally the type of duty he was performing in the bank. KSP was known for his speedy disposal of work. He would always ensure that the customers’ service was given priority. On the day when the employee visited the branch, the sub-staff on duty at the counter had gone out. In his absence, there was nobody to handover the cash cheques to the cashier after the supervisor had passed the instrument for payment. Hence as supervisor KSP himself was dropping the cash cheques in the cashier’s cabin through the slot provided.
The KEB employee went back and told KSP’s would-be-father-in-law that he saw KSP dropping the cash cheques in the cashier’s slot. On enquiry with some other bank employees, the would-be-father-in-law gathered the information that the duty performed by KSP was that of a peon in the bank!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
23rd July 2012