Saturday, August 4, 2012

Looking Back - Episode –24

The Shimoga Main branch was one of the branches identified for the purpose of extending on-the-job training for directly recruited officers in our bank. BGR took extraordinary interest in the matter of training such officers who were posted to work for a period of three months in our branch. In fact BGR had a passion to train his juniors. Several probationary officers including T R Sastry, MSR Manjunatha, Sukumar, Swaminathan, Narasimhan and Mihir Samaddar underwent training at our branch. Some of them became top executives eventually and acknowledge the quality of training received under BGR even to this day.
NSS – The Handwriting Specialist!
BGR also used to take extra interest in training the sub-staff promoted clerks. While he could train Pattabhi and KSP Hegde successfully, he had to give it up in case of another such person. The gentleman was N S Satyanarayana Kamath (NSS), a handwriting specialist! NSS had a special handwriting that could not be read even by the handwriting experts! Actually BGR having worked as a typist was proud of his capacity to read the ugliest of handwritings. But he had to simply give it up in the case of NSS. The beauty of it was that even NSS could not make out what exactly he had written whenever he was asked to read out his output!
BGR had a major problem in allocating a department to NSS. None of the supervisors/accountants were prepared to take him in their departments. There were only two departments that were under the direct control of BGR. They were the clearing and tappal departments. NSS had to be accommodated in one of these departments. The problem was – in the clearing department NSS was supposed to leave for the Clearing House by 12 noon. But he would have a difference of more than a crore of rupees when the maximum turnover in the Shimoga Clearing House used to be in some lakhs! NSS had no control over the number of zeroes he was putting against each digit! A couple of other staff had to assist him to tally the figures and pack him off to the clearing house. But he would never admit his mistakes and would rather blame others for the mess he used to create!
Whenever NSS was placed in the tappal department, the Shimoga Head Post Office sorting department used to be in trouble! None of the sorting staff could read out the names of the places in the addresses written by NSS! Initially they used to complain over phone. But after some time the complaints came to a stop. We were wondering how the staff could manage. But after some time the complaint came from the Post Master himself! He told the manager CNN that the sorting staff were marking overtime for doing research work on finding out the names of places written on the envelopes by our NSS– the Great Handwriting Specialist!
There were several jokes on the special handwriting of NSS. They used to say that NSS could never resign his job in frustration – because the management could never read his resignation letter! Another joke was that NSS should be careful if he is addressing any letter to the bank management. There was every possibility that the management would read it as a resignation letter and accept it immediately with pleasure!
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Even before the enquiry of the charge sheet against BGR was taken up, the management served one more charge sheet on him. During the emergency several privileges of the trade unions were curtailed. Among them was the right to conduct the staff meetings in the branch premises by the recognised unions. At that time the branch had become eligible for the post of a sub-manager. As the senior most Accountant BGR was acting as the sub-manager. The union gave a call to the members to defy and conduct meetings at the bank premises.
Mohan Katti was the branch secretary and A R Madhavan was the Assistant secretary at that time. Both of them met the manager CNN and told him that they were holding a meeting at the branch as usual at 5.30 pm.  CNN told them that there was a direction from the management not to permit such meetings. CNN left the branch just before 5.30 pm to avoid the showdown. He was quite aware that BGR would definitely attend the meeting as a member. Before leaving the branch he tactfully asked BGR to ensure that no meeting was held at the branch! He reminded BGR that in his capacity as the sub-manager of the branch it was his duty to enforce the bank’s directions! But BGR told him that as a member of the union he could not do it. But CNN simply disappeared from the scene. The meeting was held and BGR also participated in the meeting.
The bank served charge sheets on BGR, Mohan Katti and Madhavan for defying the bank’s directions. The charge sheet of BGR stated that he had allowed the meeting to take place despite instructions from the manager (CNN) not to permit the union members to hold the branch meeting. So BGR had one more charge sheet on his head. Some vested interests even spread a rumour that BGR was likely to be suspended! In fact such rumours were highly believable in the days of emergency. Indeed BGR was under very high mental stress during that period. He remembers how his better-half stood by him in those tough days. She was aware that BGR stood for certain principles in life. No doubt he was a staunch unionist. But he never compromised the bank interest in his long career in the bank. She knew it and she stood by him through thick and thin.
During 1975-1976, two other officers, Dinesh Nayak and P S Kamath who were junior to BGR, were promoted as managers  and transferred from our branch. With two charge sheets hanging on his head, BGR had to bide his time till the enquiries were taken up. But the management, as expected, was not in a hurry!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
4th August 2012


Narain said...

People like NSS were too many that we have across in our careers. This came in the way of development of branches. But nobody could help it. You have portrayed the qualities of the strong will and commitment to principles, possessed by BGR very vividly!!

A V Krishnamurthy said...

Thanks NN.