Wednesday, December 3, 2008
INDIANOIL-CHENNAI REGIONAL OFFICE
I was in madras from 1982 to 85. During those three years I had three different reporting managers. The first manager was rather cautious in his work, as he was uneasy with some officers, who were close to DGM. The people close to him were in the same grade as I was. DGM was in PR at HO for a long time. He was very close to Vijaya Vahini, film producers in Madras. It was common knowledge that the closeness was because Indian Oil calenders were prited at Chandamama press owned by them. He also tried for a film career for his daughter. She acted in a couple of Tamil films but for lack of talent faded away. But a good father that he was, he did try. In 83 both DGM and the manager changed. We had an apparantly docile and pan chewing DGM and a man, who thought he was the best as our manager. He was considered a terror and a very intelligent man. One thing about Tamilians, they like their bosses to be tough. Toughness is synonimous with efficiency. A few weeks after he took over, one morning when I reached office he asked me to go to Hyderabad by afternoon train. I went home, packed up and reached Madras central. There was no vacancy in AC 2 tier. I went to office from the station and reported to him. He was furious and told me that never before in his life had any one had courage to do what I did and said I could have taken unreserved compartment, which would have pleased him. I very politely told him, “ Could he think of sending me by flight instead of saying I could have gone by unreserved compartment”. He was speechless. May be nobody had dared tell him the way I did. Thereafter we got along well. May be he had no choice. He was separated from his wife and the process of legal separation was on. He had two children and both were under his custody. The court had permitted his wife to see her daughter in school. He requested me to go to school and bring his daughter to office before his wife could reach the school. This was against the law. I consulted DGM HR. I had known him for long and he was my well- wisher. He advised me to tell him with a straight face that I would not do it and I did exactly that. He was very puset and that was the end of our good relations. There are people who cultivate relationships with a motive under the guise of freindship or wellwishers. Then came third manager. He was very fond of sycophancy and love for long words, long sentences and cliches. In Madras, at least in Indian Oil, one who wrote 19th century English was considered great. They admired managers, who used maximum number of punctuations. Probably an intelligent man had to be not understood easily. Any one using short sentences with mono or bi syllabic words was not thought of much. Some times the sentences ran into paragraphs. However messed up the sentences, it was not uncommon to hear their subordinates read their letters in awe. They would even consult each other to know if they understood it correctly. He was very particular to use multisyllabic words. It was a virtue to be pedantic. His favourite columnist was G K Reddy, who contributed regularly to The Hindu. He made conscious efforts to use a new word he came across in his commercial correspondence. He wanted someone who could help his wife driving her down to places of her interest. He gave me several hints but I refused to take. He did not like me. He wanted his man, in my place. He managed my transfer to chengalpet as Sr Sales Officer. There were two channels of promotion. Sales officers promoted on seniority were designated sr sales officers while those promoted on merit were called Assisstant Managers. I was promoted as an Assisstant manager in 82. I protested. I approached the association. That year in 84 most of the promotions went to Palghat Iyers and our DGM was a Palghat Iyer. It was hard to believe it was a coincidence. My transfer order was not cancelled. I walked into DGM’s room and told him, “ I know you will not help me. You will help only Brahmins and that too from Palghat. You could have possibly considered if I were at least a Hindu. You are a sectarian minded person”. I walked out. I was summoned by GM. There were association members present. GM told me, “ I am cancelling your transfer order now but remember I will punish you by transfering you to operations next year.” I said, “ I have worked in operations and I do not consider posting to operations as punishment”. He did not like it.