Hi Friends,

Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.

There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"

With regards,
Hemen Parekh
27 June 2013

Monday, 18 January 2016

The English Teacher


(  Contributors : Nattu / Aravindakshan / Jairam  )

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Looks like MPW would have done better as a passionate English linguist or teacher or perhaps even a lawyer, where the legal language makes common sense redundant.


Fond regards
Nattu


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On 16 Jan 2016 7:49 p.m., "Aravindakshan V" <aravindv1951@gmail.com> wrote:


When it comes to MPW, I cannot control my temptation to pen down my experience.

When I joined  L&T on 1st January, 1979, MPW was GM-Gr.III.  After hearing about him from my colleagues, my only wish was that I should not be made his Secretary.  Mr Krishnan was his secretary then and Flory (FD) took over from him.

Fortunately or unfortunately, in 2000, when I was secretary to RKG, he told me "Aravind, there is a good news for you", I knew the inevitable has come.  And he told me that MPW has selected me as his next Secretary (There was no interview or test).  I asked, "do I have any option".  He said, "unfortunately no".  If you can survive with RKG for few years, then you can become MPW's secretary.  That was the bench mark then.

My last day at Powai was a Saturday, half day.  When I reached gate No.7 while going home, Swamy called me from behind and told me "Aravind, all the best, few survived with him for more than a month".
Fortunately for me, I had to serve him only for one year as he was retiring.  That one year was more than 20 years of my previous experience as secretary to various people.  I must thank God, that I survived that year and came back to Powai successfully.

My predecessor was to join Powai, HR Dept. and it was her last day with MPW.

She prepared a speech for the farewell and gave him the previous day.  

Farewell was attended by four of us - MPW, FD, SDK and myself, as he never liked big gathering and wasting time.  

He finished his speech in two sentences starting like "thank you very much for tolerating my idiosyncrasies etc. etc....."

Then it was the turn of my friend FD,  She said "since I will become emotional, I prepared my speech and gave it to you".  

MPW, typically with a smile, said "yah, I read it, very good, but there was one spelling mitake"  We all were taken aback.  Such used to be his perfection, that he will not spare you even on a farewell.
People like him are rare to find.
Regards

Aravind

9833972532


 


On Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 11:48 AM, Jairam Menon <jairam.menon@gmail.com> wrote:


MPW's English was the talk of all of L&T. It had the purity and rigour of an era that is sadly behind us.  

I was once part of a team tasked with producing a corporate brochure for the erstwhile Group III. My language skills must have wilted under MPW's scorching gaze. 

I put in a sloppy preposition. MPW pointed it out, and suggested an alternative. I - with the arrogance (of youth) stiffened by ignorance (on-going) contested the point. 

It was made clear then that MPW's English was as good as his engineering.  

Years passed and some of my articles began appearing in The Times and in our house journals. MPW - gracious as ever - complimented me and acknowledged my evolving skills.

 Fast forward now to 2015 and AMN's 50th Anniversary celebrations at Powai.  MPW introduced me to his wife, saying "Jairam's English is now better than mine'. 

The dear old lady turned to me and said - 'You should tell him it always was!'

They just don't make people like that any more.


Jairam

Monday, 11 January 2016

Never Ending Learning

( Contributor : A M Rao )

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After the New Year 2016 started and people wished each other, there was (thankfully) more than a week of utter silence! 

Maybe it was an overdose of forwards, wishes and greeting emails that made people take a break from writing or worse - from pressing the forward button!

Since it appears that we are only reactive in writing, let me provoke some action: 

English Medium to Rare

When I joined L&T, I had found almost everyone using good English in all their communications. 

Of course, in those days the big bosses had steno typists who took dictation and typed out very neatly spaced documents, but I believe there was always a fear that any document could eventually find its way to MPW's table and not a dot out off place would be tolerated.

So even though quite a few people shared a common mother tongue or spoke the local language, all official discussions, meetings and notes (even the handwritten ones from the triplicate books) were in crisply worded, grammatically correct English!

For me, coming from a English medium school background and loving to read whatever I got my hands on, it was a dream to be able to get so many valuable insights that resided in the SDP (SDDC now) library. 

Naming documents and files and tucking away every paper subject-wise, date-wise was something we learnt quickly in our first few months in SPD. 

Registering new projects and drawings into the Kalamazoo was as much fun as it was dreaded, but looking back at what we learnt there, version management, change management and so many other concepts that have fancy names in PLM, but were practiced by people so matter-of-factly as a part of their daily routine.

Computers were coming to every employee's desk and since each computer had its own keyboard, storage and network connection, the "humble" secretary became more or less obsolete.

E-Mail became a tool for daily usage. Filing slowly lost out in importance and most people today even laugh when told that we used to practice cataloguing and filing in neat chronological, alphabetical and physical order ! 

The "Search" or "Ctrl+F" has made each one of us so dependent on computers that even checking whether we have paid our PPF or LIC premium on time is dependent on a string of computer entries today.

With the personal computer and the "user friendly" tools coming in, remembering spelling, grammar and basic courtesies as well as good practices like file naming, version control etc went flying out of the (MS) windows. 

We just keep on pounding the keys any which way we wish to and the little squiggly red, green and blue lines below the typed text, the auto correct, grammar check and spell check make all of us look like literary laureates.

Again many of the bosses who were used to scribbling abbreviations onto the paper notes that came to their table, used similar TLAs (computerese for Two letter and Three letter Acronyms), in their emails. 

So we saw people start working on PSM (Please see me), PD (pls discuss), BU dd/mm (Bring up on date), OK and Not OK (self explanatory). 

As one of the great bosses used only that many keys, there was a standing joke that he deserved a specialized keyboard with only those 7-8 keys.

Living amid the micro and nano revolutions, we find the power equivalent of room-full of yester-years servers crammed into the pocket sized mobile phones, batteries charged and GBs of RAM, TBs of memory and Cores of CPU raring to go - and unleash shortened text messages, punctuated with colorful emoticons.(luckily the word "emoticon" is still not in any dictionary!). 

The keyboard comes with at least 4 layers of keys - lower case, upper case, numbers and symbols, advanced symbols etc. 


With another app loaded (sometimes default) you can type in any language of your choice. Predictive text and inbuilt intelligence helps form sentences that would appear like you have imbibed Wren and Martin, cover to cover, 

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My note :

Some 15 years back , when I failed to master all of the tricks mentioned above , I tried out , Voice-to-Text software " Dragon - Naturally Speaking "

But correcting the " mistakes " that this software made , proved to be even more daunting ! 

I gave up and still not recovered enough to try SIRI / CORTANA etc  !



Collect, Store and Recall

( Contributor : Kodam Narsaiah )

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Collect, store and recall is that all required to be efficient and successful at work place, said Mr. S N Bhauraskar, my Boss, reporting to Mr. Kaushikkar in SPE (switchboard product engineering department)., when I joined SPE in 1970.

Mr. Kaushikkar, Mr S N  Bhauraskar, Mr R R Mahajan and Mr S K Malhotra (Mr R K Malhotra’s elder brother) had interviewed me and selected me.

I was then already employed then with BEST (Bombay Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking) as substation inspector.  Had I continued there, it would have been a far superior undertaking by now; alas it was not to be.

I was so impressed on the first day in SPE that every one was neatly dressed, shirts tucked in and few with neckties, speaking only in English, except on the shop floor.

I will tell you more in my next story, how I landed in L&T.

Now back to CSR ----

1.      Collect: Collect all sort of information by reading documents, drawings, reports, mails and, through conversations, observation etc.

2.      Store: Store the above information in proper order, subject wise, sequence etc, mostly mentally (?)

3.      Recall: This is very important activity to be efficient. You should be able to recall the information thus collected and stored, in the nick of time, while debating / presenting in a group discussion. It is of no use of recalling after the incident is over.


This is really a tough thing for many. 

Many times, you think that you have the information in your memory or in a file, but you are unable to recall. This can be very embarrassing and frustrating for you.

So, sharpen your memory, even at this stage, since CSR is applicable all along in life.


L&T Works , OK

( Contributor  :  R K Seth  )

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Inspired by HRS's titillating memoirs, HCP's encouragement and Kodam Narsaiah's "Collect, Store & Recall", I am tempted to recall some Non-moving inventories from L&T's  vast memory store. 

I joined L&T in 1979 in Central Source Development Cell (SDC) and was very soon witness to the truly visionary leadership of HCP as Powai GM.

Around 1983-84, computers were introduced in India.   L&T also decided to start buying computers and HCP's visionary thinking was instrumental in introducing computers in L&T and deciding that Central Purchase (under Central Materials Dept - CMD) will do the Centralized purchase of computers for all L&T Groups. 

The PO for the first 4 computers (know then as IBM compatibles) for L&T Pune office was placed by me in Dec 1984 on Minicomp Pvt Ltd, situated opposite SEEPZ  and owned by an NRI Mr K. R. Sheth. 

It  was perhaps one of the  first Indian companies to market  computers known as IBM Compatibles by  importing in SKD condition and assembling in their unit. I recall that some people used to ask me if K R Sheth was my brother (my name R K Seth sounding similar). Perhaps they also found some facial resemblance. But actually Sheth is Gujarati and I belong to UP.   

The computers available then were PC/XT (with one hard disk and one floppy drive) costing about Rs 1.5 Lakh each and PC (with  two floppy drives, but no hard disk) costing about Rs. 1.00 Lakh.

Around 1986, well ahead of time, it was again the visionary thinking of HCP which helped in setting up a Computer Literacy Centre (CLC) in L&T Institute of Technology (LTIT) where only L&T-ites' children were allowed to get admission. 

We bought about  27 PC computers for CLC from HCL and these were used for training the LTIT students and develop their computer skills at such an early stage.

All of you may recall that HCP used to circulate various Japanese articles and success stories under the heading "Japan Works OK" somewhere in the 1980s (??).  

I was very fond of these as they were unique and highly informative and I used to file all these articles in a box file date-wise after circulating in the Dept. 

 We came to know the importance of these Japanese articles and HCP's true visionary prowess bore real fruits when around 1993-94 L&T Management decided to company-wide launch TQM, a Japanese management concept based on latest technologies and tools. 

Our consultant was Eicher Consultancy, who initially trained all the Directors and Senior Management and then multiple internal facilitators / trainers took over after 5 days intensive "Train the Trainer" programs at the Shipping Institute opposite Powai lake.  

Mr P R Kothari, then Head CMD, was given the responsibility of conducting and co-coordinating these 3 days TQM awareness programs all over India, covering all the employees.  

Some of the Facilitators were V H Iyer, P H Sakhalkar, U D Oza (of Powai Accounts), PRK himself, TA Krishnan, B V Khasnis and myself (of CMD). 

Each group had their own trainers responsible for conducting these programs within their Group. Perhaps Sakhalkar and myself were the longest running trainers (as later we also conducted "Personal Effectiveness" based on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Dr Stephen Covey). 

 I am really grateful to this great company for giving me opportunity to conduct about 125 programs all over India, starting from 1994 up to Dec 2010, when I left from L&T Infotech. 

This long stint also gave me enough experience to be a Freelance Corporate Trainer post retirement, which I am continuing till date. 

All the 3 day TQM awareness programs were conducted away from the workplace, either in a resort or a Hotel in Khandala, Lonavla, Igatpuri etc (for Mumbai works / offices). 

I remember having conducted a program for our Regional Office, Calcutta, at a resort on Jagannath Puri beach. Usually the second evening used to be the party night with sumptuous dinner and entertainment program by the participants.

 One senior management  person  used to be the guest on this day. Some times YMD used to be the guest and we used to sing old Manna day songs  in the evenings.

Many of the TQM initiatives  taken from that time onward have helped L&T's continuous growth and  in reaching the present leading position. 

So taking cue from HCP's "Japan Works OK", can we coin the words "L&T Woks OK" !!

PS. - I request HCP or anybody else to correct me, in case I have reported any thing wrong. 

Cheers

R K Seth


Ph: 98211 72644

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My comment :

RK : Nothing visionary . As they say ,

       " Ideas are dime-a-dozen . It is their execution that counts "

Monday, 4 January 2016

Leadership Qualities

( Contributor : Rishikesh Joshi  )

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Dear Shenoy,

Great to read one more memoir from you.  Its privilege to people of your generation to have had chance to shake hands with HHL on  1st January.

However what I found great is that HHL set it as tradition which continued . Like I remember NMD coming over on 1st and going through shop floors, SPD colleagues displaying their new innovations..  Later on one of those 1st January even Dhirubhai Ambani also came over to shop floor when he was Chairman.

Mr.DN  Ghosh (Govt Nominee) perhaps was a person who operated from Delhi Defence colony transit house and did not follow the tradition.  The tradition still continues, so even in 2024 we may see similar thing :)

What wasn't so great that 1st January was a working day due for offices located within factories. When moving to branches and regional offices, it was delight to know that 1st January is holiday and you don't have to turn-up weary eyed in office !!

Great leaders set great traditions which become part of culture...  On this January 2016, lets salute those leadership qualities that make a difference and try to pick some fragrance of it around us.

Wish you all a happy 2016

Rishikesh