Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why not Today?

Many of us want to follow the rules. To the letter. Even if the spirit is lost sometimes. A G Gardner's famous essay "All about a Dog" sums up this approach brilliantly. There are some rules which should never be broken. Otherwise it may compromise safety of life and limbs of persons. But there are many other rules which are not that sacrosanct. Breaking them would not amount to much violation and may even achieve the welfare of the majority.

I was directed to join the Bank at its Hubli branch forty years ago. Chitradurga is half way to Hubli from Bangalore. My uncle and his family were living in Chitradurga in those days. I went to Chitradurga and stayed with them overnight and proceeded to Hubli on the next morning. The four hour journey after breakfast took me to Hubli just before lunch time. I checked into a hotel, had lunch and went in search of the branch. The idea was to find the place in the evening itself so that there won't be any delay while reporting on the next morning. I reached the branch when the business hours had just concluded and the employees were proceeding for lunch. I sat down on one of the chairs outside the counter in the banking hall.

A few minutes later an elderly gentleman walked in and asked me what for I was waiting. I told him that I wanted to meet the Manager. He said he was the Branch Manager and asked me follow him into his cabin. He asked me whether I had lunch and when I answered in the affirmative he asked me to sit on one of the chairs in front of his table. I hesitantly sat down and handed over the letter of offer from the bank with instructions to report at Hubli branch. He enquired about my arrangements for stay in Hubli and whether I needed any assistance. He called for a file, verified my papers and said they were in order. I thanked him, got up and was about to take leave of him. "Where are you going?", he asked. "I am going back to my hotel. I will come in the morning and report for duty", I said. "What is so special about tomorrow?" was the next question. I did not know what to say. "You have come to join the Bank. Then why not today?" he asked. "If permitted I will join today itself" was the reply. "You have entered the Bank for the first time today. When you go out, go out as a proud employee of the bank.  Give your joining report and get to work without any loss of time", he ordered.

He called his next in command and instructed him to take my joining report and assign me some work. Branch Manager was himself ready but the others had their own reservations since it was already afternoon.  He understood their hesitation. "This boy has come all the way from Bangalore to work with you. He may serve the bank for thirty or forty years. What difference will half-a-day make? Why waste a day? Put him on the job. Make him work till the office closes today. Let him start learning from today. If you so desire, record that he has joined in the evening and pay him salary from tomorrow". The others complied without a murmur. I was put on rolls on the same day and paid salary from that day itself. I worked till close of office and went to Hotel thereafter.

All bank work was manual in those days and a good handwriting was an asset for bank employee then. Branch Manager had a very good handwriting and one could never find a mistake in any work he did in the bank. He had his own methods to check the working of different sections and correcting them whenever necessary. After observing my handwriting for a few days he called me once and advised me. "You have a very good handwriting. Keep it that way. It will take you far in life and career", was his advice. He was enquiring about my stay and food arrangements from time to time. He gave me some books on Banking and advised me to read them thoroughly. I worked with him for for about one year before my transfer to Bangalore. He retired shortly and remained my well wisher till he left for the next world.

His words "Why not today?" keep gently reminding me the importance of time and to have wider perspective in life than mere letter of the law or rules and look to compliance of their spirit as well.     

12 comments:

  1. Rarely we across such people in our life.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is one of the biggest lessons that most people (particularly Indians) need to learn. I try and use Kabir's dohas to help me in this regard, without much success I must add:

    Kal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab
    Pal mein pralaya hoyegi, bahuri karoge kab

    ReplyDelete
  3. it is such a great example of dedication

    ReplyDelete
  4. This gives a importance of time in our life. If time pass away we can't get it back.

    ReplyDelete
  5. sudhir singh rathoreMarch 14, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    I am very grateful to you for share your past experience.

    ReplyDelete
  6. really a inspiring story/experience which we would try to affirm to as far as possible

    ReplyDelete
  7. naveen sisodia 14aJanuary 31, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    I thanks you sir to share your experience.it will help us in future .it also teaches us a lesson.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you sir for sharing your experience......

    ReplyDelete
  9. wonderful experience.
    Thank you sir for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Try respecting time,future times will respect you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for sharing your experience sir. Really everyone in banking sector should understand our time value.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for sharing your experience sir. Really everyone in banking sector should understand our time value.

    ReplyDelete