Empathy for colleagues and their families in midst of a crisis

Like a coconut tough on outside but soft inside

Most NDDB the bosses were considered to be tough. However, there was another side too in behaviour of seniors officers of NDDB. Here is a story depicting concern for the family of NDDB officers by NDDB Chairman, Dr. Miss Amrita Patel.

NDDB was assigned responsibility of reviving defunct milk unions of Saurashtra and Kutch during the 2005 by the Government of Gujarat.

It was decided to initiate revival of the Junagadh Dairy under the prestigious Saurashtra Kutch Dairy Project (SKDP). My colleagues and I were posted at Junagadh to initiate Milk Procurement activities. We started organizing milk Producer’s Institutions in four talukas of Junagadh District. Within 15 days we reached procurement level of 15000 liters per day.

Chairman, Dr (Miss) Amrita Patel) accompanied by the Managing Director were to visit Junagadh. They flew from Mumbai to Rajkot. I was asked to receive them and brief them about milk procurement issues on their way to Junagadh.

As we were travelling I received a call from my brother informing me about my aged mother’s fall in the bathroom in his house in Mumbai.

My mother had a pelvic bone fracture and was scheduled to be operated soon. Miss Patel was listening to our conversation. She asked me what the problem was? I told her about my mother’s accident and the scheduled operation. She told me “You should go to Mumbai at the soonest”. I told her that after conclusion of their visit I will proceed to Mumbai. After their visitI went to Mumbai to attend to my ailing mother.

A fortnight late there was a management committee meeting of SKDP. As a member of the Management Committee of SKDP I went to Anand to attend the meeting. As soon as Miss Patel entered the meeting room she asked me “Arun how is your mother?” I was overwhelmed by her empathetic understanding of my situation and her show concern about my mother.

Such personal touch in conversations coming from the NDDB Chairman NDDB motivated me a lot.

Dr SN Singh

I can confidently say that my former boss in Cooperative Services (CS) Group, Dr. SN Singh, too exhibited similar qualities of concern for colleagues and their family members. Dr. SN Singh had worked for a long time with Miss Patel during his tenure at NDDB Delhi.. Once Dr SN Singh was scheduled to to proceed on a tour.

Just before to his departure he learnt that the son of one of the officers from the Cooperative Services Group was admitted in a hospital in Anand. Dr Singh first went to the hospital and inquired about the health of the ailing son from our colleague. He also gave a few thousand rupees and only then he proceeded to the airport.

In the picture to the above Dr. SN Singh with Dr V Kurien

He also instructed all the officers of CS group to support our colleague in shifts and give him all the help needed and boost his morale.

I always compare Dr SN Singh to a coconut. During the time we worked with him he we experienced him as very stern in outside official behaviour like a coconut but he was as soft as coconut inside.

I strongly feel that our seniors were tough so far as job was concerned but really very helpful during a personal crisis.

Contributed by Arun Wayangankar; NDDB 1977-2007