Monday, 24 January 2011

Once upon a time in SBI

II really enjoyed the last weekend. It was fast paced and on a social
scale, can be termed as very active. For the past two days, I enjoyed
reuniting with old friends and the SBI connection flowing through me
proved to be thicker than blood.

The Ex-SBI meet held at Hotel Mirage on the evening of 22nd Jan was a
blast. Actually it was possible due to the tireless efforts of Mr.
Amrit Basu and the total involvement of his wife and daughter.

Thanks to this meet we could catch up with many of our old friends and
ex colleagues. The meet gives us an excellent opportunity for
networking as experienced finance professionals from so many companies
congregated. The most striking aspect was the bonding, which we all
felt, and how easily we could relate to each other. Though the
gathering was substantial, I personally expected some more people to
come and was a little surprised at their absence.. Some people could
not make it. Me too was guilty of attending singly without the wife.

Of the two pleasant fallouts of the meet, one happened today when from
the photographs circulated by Mr. Arun Chatterjee, somebody recognised
me after 25 years and contacted me. I am really looking forward to
meet B.S.V.Ramana Rao, now with IndusInd. What was amazing is that he
recognized me, as my appearance in the photographs is limited to only
two , that too in the background. Surprising for a person like me,
maybe I circulated too much .

The other incident was off course, meeting Tapas Adhya. He is now in
Jamaica, seems to have come over on holiday and attended the meet.
What a pleasant surprise it was. I got a photo of the two of us
clicked on my mobile and its attached with this post. There were other
cases also where people attended the meet on the way to the airport
and also vice versa i.e.after landing from an outstation trip. People
postponed or preponed their engagements. In all, it was a success but
I think the person most missed ( by me and many others, due to the
interest generated beforehand) was Mr. Anand Nesarikar.

There is a proposal make it an yearly affair and reserve the third
saturday of every January for this activity.But at the same time I
feel that it it is also necessary to expand the scope of the forum
from a mere get-together to something more meaningful . For that,
offcourse we need much, much, more initiatives from everybody. Let's
see . The baby steps have been taken and we can definitely hope for
something bigger. But Amrit da really deserves full credit for
organising the event. Hats off to him.......

My old friend Swarup Mukherjee , from SBI paid his first visit to my
house on 23rd morning . It was great speaking to him as he is not only
a batchmate of mine in SBI but also originates from Jamshedpur, my
hometown. Swarup is posted at Hyderabad but has left his family in
Nerul, where I have recently moved last yaer after purchasing a
flat.He was on some inspection related visit to Mumbai which allowed
him to spend some time with his family.

An important housing committee meeting scheduled around noon was a
quite animated, in proportion to the issues discussed mainly with
security, parking and expenses related to our building. It also
provided me to meet my neighbours , with whom sadly, I have little
interaction except on emergencies.

The evening of 23rd was spent at St Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra ,
attending a programme by Anandam, a Mumbai based group of Probasi
Bangalis . The programme was named " Thakur barir Aalo aandhare" The
programme was a fine mixture of history, interesting facts and songs
showcasing the contribution of Rabindranath Tagore and his family to
the vibrant Bengali culture. The presentation was very intelligent and
the director, Mr. Lucky Mukherjee did not compromise on some
contentious issues like the values, morality, and hypocrisy and dual
stands of very talented people. What I liked best was the treatment of
the context and historical perspective of the Tagore family and the
avoidance of temptation to put Tagore and his family on a high
pedestal morally.

Personally, I had a special reason to attend the programme as Mr.
Subrata Sarkar of SBI who was my ex-boss (twice), benefactor and
almost an elder brother to me played the role of the King of Tripura.
A photo of him captured on my mobile is attached. I met his son Arpan
after so many days, maybe 15 years. Here also I met many of my friends
and contemporaries from SBI who are originally from Kolkata and now
posted at the SBI central office. Though interaction was minimal
during the break only but I really felt happy to meet both my
predecessor at LHO Kolkata Personnel department, Dipankar Bose and
successor Pradeep Ghosh. Ujjal Das and Goutam Bhattacharyya (one of my
successful batch mates – he is now a DGM) were also present .

But sadly Arup Gupta lost his wallet during the break at the snacks
counter. I could immediately relate to his woes as I was also robbed
of my mobile, in the same fashion, two years back while attending a
gathering of Bengalis in a function held at Ravindra Natya Mandir.
Like Arup, I was also wearing a long Kurta (Punjabi, as we call it in
Bangla) . I make a special mention of this as everybody reading are
requested to kindly note that attending Bengali programmes in Mumbai
in Kurta is just like inviting pick pockets. At every such gathering
of Bengalis, who are very fond and rightly so about their Kurtas ,
this artist will relieve some one or the other of their valuables. His
modus operandi is very simple and he takes advantage of the Bengalis
legendary and voracious appetite for tea and chops during the break
when there is virtually a free for all in front of the snacks counter.
So be forewarned and if you have to wear a Kurta, don't keep your
mobile and wallet in the pockets of the Kurta.

Arunangshu Paul
visit me on facebook


  1. Quite Nostalgic Sir..


  2. Mr Arup Dasgupta found his wallet minus the money but with all other very important articles (Driving licence, credit cards...) untouched.
    i have become a fan of you blog Sir, why dont you start on a book.