Remembering Father – some notable episodes, Part 2

It was sometime in mid 30s. A new boss had arrived from Germany, who was neither familiar with Indian geography nor with the subtle ways with which to handle Indian psyche or idiosyncracies.

Business was slack and orders were hard to come by. One day, my father received a letter from my grandfather, who lived in Surat, our native place, to visit him since he was ailing. It looked urgent. My father requested leave for just two days but the boss was adamant in his refusal. In a couple of days, the company received an enquiry from one Rander Electric Company and the boss promptly asked my father to proceed there to procure the order. Of course, what the poor German guy did not know was that Rander was in fact a suburb of Surat and the boss of the electric company, a very dear friend of my father’s! So my grandfather was indeed very happy to receive his son! The next day, my father shot off a telegram to say that the boss of Rander Electric was too busy and had scheduled a meeting only a couple of days hence. Another followed after two days saying negotiations were on. And so it went on for a full week, of course in connivance with his friend, who then gave him a small order. Armed with this, my father met his German boss who promptly said, “See, you wanted to take leave and instead I asked you to go to Rander, and now look, you have received an order!”

My father’s unsaid retort was, “Sir, I wanted to take leave at my own expense for only two days, but you gave me an opportunity to spend seven days with my ailing father at company expense, including all travel and a daily allowance to boot!”

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