Thoughts & Ideas

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Kursela Days 2 – I Draft a Letter



As I have mentioned in my previous post, for doing my rural assignment, I was first sent to the Regional Office in Purnea. I spent about a fortnight at the Purnea, RO, while the decision regarding my final posting was being deliberated. I spent this time, doing all kinds of odd jobs or more often than not, having nothing to do except chat with my colleagues, and go down every couple of hours for a cup of tea or a cigarette.

One day I was called by Sachidanand Singh (Sacha Singh) who was the Administrative Secretary of the DGM, Mr. N S Jain, and was asked to draft an letter which the DGM wanted to send to his boss, the GM (Operations) in Patna. This particular letter had some kind of importance, but I now forget as to what. Sacha Singh briefed me on the subject matter of the letter and then left me on my own. As a parting shot he also very helpfully added that the DGM was in the habit of not liking anybody’s drafting and would in all probability strike of the draft when it was put up to him for approval and re-write the letter himself.

The prognosis was not very encouraging, but having nothing better to do, I sat down and drafted the letter and showed it to Sacha Singh who suggested some changes. I also learnt something in the process of SBI office procedures. Any document whose draft was sent for approval to the DGM was to be typed out in red in capitals with double spacing. This was the domain of specialist clerk-cum-typists, but since I knew typing and being young and enthusiastic I typed out the draft and handed it over to Sacha Singh to send it for approval by the DGM.

By this time it was about 1 pm and I was feeling hungry, so I drifted away to the have some lunch in some small restaurant in Purnea market. I returned leisurely by about 3 pm and nearly everyone I met on the way back seemed to be anxious to know where had I been. The DGM’s office was on the 2nd floor and by the time I climbed up, at least 10 people had informed me, “Sushil, where were you? The DGM was looking for you”. As the latest addition to some 100 odd officers posted there I was not even aware if the DGM knew of my existence and anyway I had never met him earlier. As such, the news that he was looking for me was electrifying. I hurried up to Sacha Singh’s office, where he also asked me the same thing. He added that something really had happened. It seems that a little after the letter drafted by me was sent it for approval by the DGM, he walked out of his chamber with the draft in his hand and with one question. Who had drafted that letter? Knowing, his idiosyncrasies, thankfully no one had owned responsibility and had waited for me to come and face the music.  Then Sacha Singh added with the real reason with a smile. It seems that the DGM had liked the drafting so much that he had approved it with virtually no corrections!

Sacha Singh, then escorted me to meet the DGM who asked me a few questions and I was asked to wait outside. Meanwhile he then called up the GM(O) with a request to relax the condition of compulsory rural posting in my case, as he felt that I could be more productively utilized in his secretariat. But the GM(O) refused. Mr. Jain, was not somebody to give up so easily. He gave instructions that my rural posting be kept in abeyance until he had a chance to speak to the GM(O) personally in course of his next visit to Patna where he was scheduled to go in a week’s time. I was later informed that Mr. Jain did speak to the GM(O) seeking exemption for me in doing the compulsory rural assignment, but  the approval was not forthcoming. It was thereafter decided to send me to Kursela. So thanks to the chance drafting of a letter I nearly did not do my rural assignment!

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