Moving Fingers still write; Christmas 2019 (Revised March, 2022)

Reproducing a slightly edited version of a blog I wrote in December 2019. Vrikshamandir first appeared online in November 2019. That was a time when I was going through a rough patch. I was healthy, yet there was something amiss. Vrikshamandir was an idea and with the help of friends and former colleagues, I was able to launch this website and have been able to sustain it. I am currently getting out of another spell of illness (this time real) and I find that Vrikshamandir is perhaps the tonic that will sustain me and help me get over the current phase.

I wrote this on the morning of Christmas Day of 2019 from Toronto. My 6 year old granddaughter gave me a beautiful card with a message that she wrote for me.

When I was her age, I wanted to write to my great grand father but since he didn’t know how to read or write I wrote to my grand father in Hindi. It had a lot of spelling mistakes. I still have that letter somewhere because my grandfather corrected my spelling errors and my letter was sent back to me by post. It was exciting to get a letter by post that too from my grand father.

My grand father Shri Vishwanath Singh and grand mother Smt. Mulka Devi in early 1950’s.

How times have changed ! My first visit to Canada was in 1980. That was an official trip. I visited Canada several times thereafter but never had an idea of living here. I now spend 5-6 months each year in Canada.There is an exception though. Since July 2020 I have not been able to venture out of Canada. . Thanks to Corona and now the current health issues that I face. In 1987, NDDB sponsored my dear colleague ( Late) Dr SP Mittal and me for a three month long Training Programme to Canada and USA. We attended workshops and seminars on Human Resource Development staying in various cities and traveling from east to west coast a couple of times. However, we spent a larger part of our time in Victoria, BC with Rob and Carol Nelson. Rob is no more. Carol is not well. They became close friends. . This was a long trip and we greatly missed Indian Food. Dr. Mittal and I both liked to cook. Rob and Carol Nelson who were our hosts in Victoria, graciously allowed us to use their kitchen. But getting groceries was a difficult task. Toronto was different though. We went to restaurants serving Indian Food but it was costly. We liked Chinese food as it was always served in more than adequate quantities and also at prices much less than the food served in Indian restaurants.That was then.

One day I went to an Indian store, “Panchvati” some 15 kilometres from our place. What a store! Everything I could think of was available. The famous Parle G biscuit was on the shelf. Yes Pale G, how can we forget ..The Company was to lay off 10000 workers in August last. To dip Parle G in hot tea and eat and then sip tea… was a luxury to be indulged in when I was growing up.I am glad that Parle continues to survive and export too. 

Shri Anirudh Singh after reading this post has the following to say in the comments column “Sir, it is really very pleasant, when someone brought us back towards our childhood and particularly by our dear one. The style and manner in which you expressed this was really great. One thing I also want to bring in your kind notice and humbly to correct you that the news propagating that ParleAgro layed off her 10,000 worker was baseless and there was no tinge of truth in this falsely painted story.
Presently I am working with Parle Group.Regards”.
So much for truthfulness of main stream media !

I also found Dhara the NDDB owned brand of edible oil on one shelf at Panchvati. I was Director Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing in 1987 before NDDB became a body corporate under an act of Parliament. NDDB launched Dhara after I moved from Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil wing to the newly created Human Resource Development Group.

I continued to oversee Chairman’s office besides assuming charge as one man department of Human Resource Development. Dr. (Miss) Amrita Patel the then Managing Director thought that I would be the most suitable person to head the newly created HRD function in NDDB. It was initially kept separate from Personnel Administration and Legal function. But I had no back ground in HR. Although there was one thing that Dr SP Mittal and I had successfully done. Miss Patel had entrusted the two of us to negotiate with the NDDB Employees Union and settle labour cases. There were a large number of cases pending in labour court, Labour Tribunal and and High Court. Dr. Mittal’s patience, listening ability and gentle demeanour together with my ability to connect with the leadership of the Union and support we had from Miss Patel helped us settle most of the cases barring some critical ones. ? Dr V Kurien was consulted and Dr SP Mittal and I were sponsored for a training programme cum study tour of US of A and Canada for getting exposed to latest in HR theory and practices. Mr Rob Nelson and Carol Nelson who were Canadian International Development Agency appointed HR consultants to NDDB were he ones who organised our programme in North America. I went to Dr Kurien and said ”Sir I am would be going on tour to US and Canada for a training programe.”

Dr. Kurien said, “I know, Miss Patel told me. I don’t know whats this HR VehR. But Madam wants you to go so go and enjoy “ Later on return when Dr Mittal and I would reflect on our learning’s we found that most of the theories that we learnt in North America were already being practiced in the organisation that we were working with. We learnt to use new labels; Vision, Strategy, Structure, Key processes, Key roles, Rewards and Recognition, Culture etc.


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