Lessons learnt from Dr. Kurien

- Shekhar Roy 

In this last blog in the series titled “Lessons learnt from Dr. Kurien” Shekhar Roy shares Dr. Kurien’s views on what it takes to be a worthy citizen. He also shares some quotations of Dr. Kurien.

When I was with the Engineering Division at NDDB, Anand, one day I was asked to go to Anup Engineering, Ahmedabad for inspection of aluminium milk cans being manufactured by them for the first time.

I was to leave for Ahmedabad by train the next morning. I got a call from the Chairman’s office informing me that when I go to Ahmedabad, I am required to go RBI office and collect foreign exchange for Chairman, who was scheduled to leave for US the day after.

I was given a letter with some documents to be handed over to RBI office. I was also provided with a NDDB vehicle. I left early in the morning to ensure that I am at RBI sharp at 10.00 am.

I did so and requested the receptionist for an appointment with Dy. General Manager (Foreign Exchange).

Within 10 minutes I was called in perhaps because I was carrying a letter from Dr.Kurien.

He took the letter from me, called an officer and asked him to quickly arrange the FEx. He asked me to wait in his office and ordered for some tea.

We were just talking over a cup of tea. Some 15 minutes later the officer came in with the Dollars. I was asked to sign in token of receipt and Dollars were in my hand in a plastic cover.

Frankly speaking I was taken aback as how can one get the foreign exchange so fast. The RBI officer could read my mind. He then told me “This foreign exchange required by Dr.Kurien and it has to be done very fast.”.

He further added that Dr. Kurien was one of very few individuals who after returning from a foreign trip return the unspent foreign exchange at the shortest possible time.

He is THE VIP customer of RBI. So, I was out of RBI in flat 30 minuutes.

I then completed my work at Anup Engineering and reached Anand by 3.00 pm. I went straight to Chairman’s office to hand over the Dollars. He had just returned from lunch break and I was asked by his PA to go in and hand over personally to him. I gave the Dollars and also told him what the Dy.Governor/RBI. He smiled in his typical style and told me to remember this for future, meaning that we all need to be honest, transparent and worthy citizens in all walks of life.

A great experience for me.

Some quotes from Dr.Kurien that I heard from him at various platforms

you want to do something, do it perfectly and better than others, otherwise do not do it.

2. When you are dealing with a third person, not only you should be fair, but you must appear to be fair and most importantly, the other person must feel convinced that you are fair.

3. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

4. While dealing in official matters, you should only be concerned with what is right and good for the organisation you are working for. That must be your priority. Nothing else.

5. If you are genuinely on the right path, no force on this earth can take away success from you. 6. Always be honest to yourself.

The background picture above of the Chairman’s office (one of the first buildings to come up at NDDB Campus in Anand) was taken some time in 1970. Dr. Kurien had his office on the ground floor left corner room from 1970 to 1998.


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