Luxury Living in Amul Dairy Campus
My first “home” in Anand in May – July 1968 was a room in the bungalow of Prof Michael Halse in the Amul Campus opposite Dr Kuriens’s House (Amul 1).
I had a fully furnished air-conditioned room with an attached bath full of shelves filled with books.
Yes, I am talking of 1968 May! Some 54 years ago!
Pure luxury that this “Bhaiya” from a Gorakhpur village had not been exposed to till then ! But it did not last long.
Come to think of it, I could afford an air conditioner in my Anand home behind the NDDB campus only in 1998/1999, some thirty years of work life.
In the workplace at NDDB too I had a room to myself in the office only after I became Director (OVOW) in 1984, which was air-conditioned.
Mike was on leave in the UK in June of that year. Mike had a Goan cook, Paul. A jovial happy-go-lucky individual, Paul had a mixed Goan Gujarati accent. Dinesh was the other helper a Pandit ( Mishra or Shukla) who belonged to UP, probably Pratapgarh. He was very economical with speaking in Bhojpuri or Awadhi with me and preferred to speak in Khari Boli (Hindi). Both Paul and Dinesh were fluent in Gujarati.
However, they both became friendly to me once they knew that I would not be on Mikes’s staff but I was already an employee of NDDB.
Meeting Virindra Behla
Many good things happened in my life in the late sixties. One of the highlights besides my “ interview” with Dr Kurien, meeting Professor VK Gupta, Dr Michael Halse, and landing up with a regular job with NDDB was meeting Virindra Behla.
I was then staying at the bungalow of Prof Michael Halse in the Amul Campus.
One evening Dr Kurien walked up the house of Mike as he saw me sitting on the porch. He wanted to enquire about the return of Mike to Anand, who was then on holiday in England. It was a day before I joined NDDB on 1 May 1968 in late April 1968, may be on 30 or 31 April.
A young Sardar Ji accompanied Dr Kurien.
The person accompanying Dr Kurien was Behla.
It was Dr Kurien who introduced Behla and me to each other. We both are old now, and our friendship too has passed middle age have already completed 54 years.
Reality Check: Moving to a Shared Room
After staying with Mike for a few months probably in July 1968 I moved to a room which I shared with Harish Virmani. Virmani and I shared the room but the washroom / WC was shared with the owners of the house “Krishna Villa.”
What a reality check!
From AC room in Amul Dairy Campus to a small room with not even a washroom and no furniture. Monthly rent if I remember correctly was Rs 60/- per month and my share was Rs 30/- My take home salary then was Rs 435/- per month. I became an income tax payer from day one after getting a regular job. I think tax deducted at source in 1968-1969 financial year was Rs 250/- ( for ten months) or around Rs 25/- per month. House rent worked out to about 7% and income tax another 6%. A thali in Amul canteen cost Rs 1.35/- Amul Milk doled out of cans in early mornings was Rs 1.05 per litre. Modern Dairy had begun operations and a small loaf cost Rs 0.25/- So modern bread with Bedekar Lonche ( mango or lemon) with tea became standard breakfast.
There was a local restaurant opposite Amul Dairy which sold Ganthia, Bhajia and other savouries and tea. At times one would go to that shop too or walk into the dairy to get some thing from the workers canteen. Usual place for lunch was Amul Dairy workers canteen. For dinner one had a choice Amul Dairy workers canteen or Punjab Rajputana Restaurant near the Anand Railway station. There were other restaurants too in that area but I frequented Punjab Rajputana as it served non vegetarian dishes. I used to eat non vegetarian food those days.
I decided to buy a cot. Which remained with me till I moved to the NDDB campus in 1970.
Virmani being a trainee executive and recruited to work for the Mehsana Milk Producers Union for their cattle feed plant had to move out once the training was over and join the Mehsana Union.
NDDB Campus via Mani Bhuvan in 1970
I then moved to a two-bedroom house in Arya Nagar; which NH Vyas, PV Mathew ( First recruits to Amul and NDDB from IIMA) and I shared. NH Vyas and I shared one room while Mathew took the other room. Kitchen was non-functional. We neither invested in setting it up not had the interest in cooking except tea.
Virindra Behla , Baboo Nair and I lived in Anand in Mani Bhuvan on Amul Dairy Road during 1968-1970. Behla spent more time at sites than in Anand. Later when Baboo left for Sweden Rashmi Kant Nagar Nandi Naithani, Shailendra Palvia moved in. Dr Palvia is currently Professor Emeritus of MIS at Long Island University. Naithani though younger than us has already left us on his final journey. May he attain Sadgati.
Some nostalgic pictures of our Mani Bhuan days! Nostalgia is a feeling.
In mid-1970 the NDDB office was moved from the fourth floor of Multi Storyed Administrative building of Kheda District Milk Producers Cooperative Union to the newly built campus near Jagnath Mahadeo Temple on Khetiwadi Road, Nagar and I were allotted fully furnished rooms with attached bathroom in the Chummury ( now Guest House). PV Mathew and Dr Narayan Raj also got accommodation at the Chummery. It had six rooms therefore two rooms remained vacant.
Ashok Koshy and PT Jacob moved to Mani Bhuvan for a few months.
With Rao ji Bhai was our cook cum man Friday in those days of late sixties in Mani Bhuvan.
“Mani Bhuvan” was an eating and Gupshup place for many bachelor employees of Amul and newly set up NDDB. Mani Bhuvan was the last house in Anand town where I lived for the longest period before moving to the NDDB campus as first batch of officers who were allotted living accommodation on the newly built campus in 1970.
Life Goes On
I have stayed in what is now NDDB Guest House, Hostel as the first warden, D Block, C Block and B Block before moving to our own house behind Anandalaya which Behla and I built in 1987.
Both of us have sold those beautiful houses where at least I thought will be my retirement home. But it was not to be.
Fast forward 50-plus years …
1- We all are now old, mid-seventies and more
2-Some friends both mentioned and not mentioned above have left us on their final journey
3- Our families are all over the world
4- Many of us are still connected though we lost touch with some others.