Friday, January 21, 2011

DAY 112 – In Mumbai

Friends,
Waking up later than usual with a heavier than normal head, the pre-noon session was devoted largely to ‘recovery’. Girish’s brother, Madhu, and I chatted for a while on developments in the Insurance Sector and the scrips that should seriously be evaluated for good buys. A sumptuous breakfast and I was ready by noon to visit friends in the Railways.
Mehboob Rab is a batch mate who is now posted in Western Railway as the Chief Claims Officer. He used to be an ace Bridge player while in the Railway Staff College, Vadodara. All his three children are well placed with the eldest daughter working as a Doctor in the Railways. A cup of tea and I was on my way to meet another batch mate RD Tripathi, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager WR. As it turned out, he was proceeding on leave for a month to ‘accommodate’ a colleague. This is a feature I have seen all over the Railways during my journey, with affected officers upset about the ‘coercive’ method employed by the ‘management’ to promote the juniors. With officers surplus in the cadre it is strange that VRS application of officers is turned down. Moreover, officers are recalled from deputations that lead to further imbalance in the cadre.
I took the Testimony of having visited the WR HQ from RDT and he gave me a drop to meet SCJ over lunch in the Central Railway HQ. I was happy to see the ‘Corporate’ environment in SCJ’s office. It was heartening to know from SCJ that the Claims procedure has been computerised over the Indian Railways. The pilot project for Claims computerization was done in Southern Railways and I was fortunate to be involved in the initial processes. Lunch was heavy fare. I enjoyed the parathas and sabjis with salad. Maaza was at hand to wash down the heavy meal.
Sunil Arya was Chief Freight Transportation Manager in Southern Railway when I was on deputation to CONCOR. We had become good friends over time and it was only appropriate that I call on him in the office of the Additional General Manager CR. We had a long chat about my journey and he succeeded in convincing me about planning a trip to Bhutan sometime in the future. In fact, I would love to do Arunachal and Bhutan in detail whenever I take off next. I left after wishing him all luck to be promoted as General Manager soon. He insisted on my using his car for my next appointment and saw me off in the portico of the CR HQ.
Dinner was to be with SCJ and his family. I dropped in a bit early to meet Mrs. Jethi, Mishita and Rishvin. Mishita has grown up to be an accomplished and confident young lady, who has chosen Law as her profession. Personally I feel that it suits her personality perfectly. Intelligent, probing and expressive with oodles of energy I am sure she will do well in her chosen profession in the years to come. Rishvin, with his overarching penchant for ‘mobiles and automobiles’ (as his father puts it), is a techie youngster who wishes to take the Civil Service exams to work in the Indian Railways. Welcome to the band, young man, in good time.
Considering the amount of short eats and food that Mrs. Jethi plied us with the dinner should have been scheduled over at least two days. Mrs and Mr RDT, Girish and I were treated to goodies at such frequent intervals that one had the mouth always open, either to take part in the conversation or to partake in devouring the excellent short eats. Dinner was such an elaborate affair that I thought I would require the assistance of Emergency Services to get back on to my feet. The Chicken preparation was a delight and so were the Paneer and other accompaniments. With utmost difficulty the centre of gravity was attained after a combination of will power and physical strength helped me up from the table. The final blow was delivered then – moong dal halwa cooked in a liberal environment of ghee. I was glad I had worn a T-shirt for dinner. The buttons on a shirt would not have withstood the severe strain the middle was subjected to.

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