- Shekhar Roy
During my service period in NDDB, I had interactions with Dr.V Kurien on many occasions, official, demi-official and also personal.
Most of these interactions have taught me some invaluable lessons and helped in shaping up my personal value system and eventually my character.
There are many such small incidents which are still in my memory. I have imbibed within the lessons learnt.
I would like to talk about some such incidents which have influenced my personal life.
I joined NDDB as a Graduate Engineer Trainee (GET) in 1971 at Anand and during this training period, we were given various kinds of jobs in the Engineering Division, before we were deputed to Amul Dairy for a three month training in different divisions of the plant.
After about 2 months of joining, I was asked to go to Blue Star depot in Vadodara to take delivery of a Deep Freeze for our Guest House after inspection/trial. I was provided a Jeep (Famous white Operation Flood Jeep) for bringing it to Anand.
I took delivery of the Deep Freeze and was returning to Anand. In those days, Octroi payment was in force and Anand Municipality had Octoroi Naka near Ganesh Chokdi. Just before the Naka, generally all goods carrying vehicles were supposed to stop, pay the octroi and then get entry to Anand town.
Since our vehicle was a private vehicle and the Deep Freeze in the rear section was not visible form outside, they did not stop our vehicle. Thus, we passed through without paying octroi.
After installing the machine in the Guest House, I reported to Mr. RH Variava, Deputy Secretary (Guest House was under him) and I mentioned to him that I have avoided payment of octroi.
He did not seem to be happy with this, asked me to wait and went out of his room.
After a while he came back and told me that it was not correct to bring in a machine without payment of octroi. He has checked with Dr.Kurien and he has asked me to go immediately to Anand Municipality office in the town with all documents, pay the octroi and report back to him.
And my punishment was that I have to go walking in the hot sun (Month of July) to the town and come back also walking.
I did so and reported back.
It was around 3 pm by then and it was time for Dr.Kurien to return after lunch. When I was in Mr.Variava’s room, Dr.Kurien came in.
Mr.Variava promptly informed him about the octroi payment. Dr Kurien looked at me with the typical Kurien look and told me “Young boy, never repeat this mistake in your life and never ever evade paying Govt. Taxes/duties. Be a good citizen first.”
He also said that the punishment you got was only to ensure that you learn a lesson. Then, he asked Mr.Variava to arrange for a chilled soft drink for me and went out. This was my first direct encounter with him. From that day, till today, I have not evaded payment of Govt. taxes/duties, even in my personal life.
That was the first lesson that I learnt from Dr. Kurien
Contributed by Shekhar Roy NDDB 1972-2002