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

Friday, 26 February 2016

Forward

Contributor :  A Y Divekar

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Foreword

On January 10 1972, I joined Larsen & Toubro Limited at Powai, Mumbai. I was designated "Production Manager - Standard Products" of their Switchgear Division known as "PSW".

My responsibilities were a bit mixed - production of piece parts, painting and electroplating, tool maintenance, plant engineering, machine maintenance, works accounts, budget preparation and control, and housekeeping. 

Manufacturing technology upgradation, computerization got added later.

Being improvement oriented I needed a good secretary. But the good ones had already teamed up with seniors and older managers. So I had to find a new one! 

Someone suggested "Try HR Shenoy". Name sounded interesting.
I had a brief meeting with HRS and took the right decision. He was in.

After some Initial adjustments and we clicked and settled down to a good number of years together. HRS was keen, regular and cautious when suggesting corrections.

I was happy and looked forward to a long association - till one day he sprang a surprise.

"Can you please release me to work in the Information Systems function of Switchgear Works?" Uncomfortable, yet not wanting to apply a brake his career development, I released him. 

The group he joined to improve the effectiveness with which Personal Computers (then very new) were deployed to up-grade planning and scheduling functions, did some outstanding work.  HRS's contribution within that is known. That earned him deserved respect.  I have no first hand knowledge of his achievements during the decade after my retirement.

Years passed. I retired and moved house to Pune and lost touch with old colleagues.  Fortunately, I got drawn again into email clubs of ex-L&T colleagues which HRS and a few others had initiated separately.

I started reading very interesting mails from HRS and was impressed by the style! Each mail was about a small event, very readably worded, about a colleague or an incident at Powai.

The style and content reminded me of books written by Sudha Murthy and Usha Dravid and the very interesting reading they make.

I mailed HRS saying "Your mails are very readable and you have numerous stories to tell. I think you should compile them into a book and publish it."

Having overcome initial surprise, he took up the matter seriously. The bee had bitten and chased him till he found a publisher.

I am sure the outcome is going to be a very readable small book not only for us - his erstwhile colleagues - but also the general reader.



Pune, February 2016                                              AY Divekar


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Then & Now

Contributor :  Arvind  Rao 
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Then & Now


Then I was 25 – Now I am 50 !


Then, we had Yellow buses, driven by respectable uniform clad colleagues, following road rules, but still efficiently reaching their few destinations –

 Now, we have Yellow buses, from each nook and corner, driven by rash and uncouth persons, dressed in what is passed off as uniforms, terrorizing passengers and other road users and couldn’t care a damn if the passengers are delayed due to breakdowns.


Then, we had to write all important communications using duplicate or triplicate books and carbon paper. Documents that required multiple handling were made on tracing and blue-prints used for replication. All copies were securely and centrally filed, no job was ever complete till the paperwork was done! –

 Now, everyone names and saves their own folders, backs up their data first on their own hard disk, then onto a common folder and sometimes into some server –works on each copy in turn at different points in time, and each iteration remains with that copy – leading to a royal mess every time someone needs to search for an “original” “copy”.


Then, we had to do all calculations either with slide rules or calculators, double check everything before submission and own up to mistakes (however rarely they occurred) and went about correcting them, burning midnight oil if required 

 Now, we have computers and we blame them for our mistakes, go home on time and let the computers figure out and correct themselves.


Then, we had to walk uphill to canteen and back, queue for the buffet spread and had 40 minutes for lunch – on an average we finished the round trip in 20 – Now, we have elevators to the food court, are spoiled for choice by multiple counters to suit every palate and take average 85 minutes out of the allocated 35.


Then, we had few phones, big, black or monochrome plastic devices with dials and they were always answered on first ring by someone or another, no matter on whose table it was – 

Now, we have instant messaging, where we set status “away”, “busy” or “dnd” and smart phones that show the identity of the caller – so we can selectively choose what calls we answer, and unattended, ringing phones are always someone else’s problem !


Then, we had time for others, knew our colleagues littlest pains, shared the jubilations of everyone’s achievements, met socially and formally and generally got a lot more done in less time –

 Now, we know more about people we never spoke to in school and college due to facebook but have consultants hired by HR to teach how to get closer to colleagues and do all that we already did some years ago without any need for outside guidance.


Then, we were all one big happy family with healthy rivalry displayed on sporting fields, rarely spreading to the board rooms, performance reviews of individuals or businesses and ethics and values dearly upheld –


Now, we play games in the board rooms, prey on individuals under the guise of performance appraisals and sign papers proclaiming ethical behaviour while stabbing our venerable institution in the back at each available opportunity!


Then, we had people who could do the work of four – 

Now, we have people who create work for four. Then, we were Engineers Limited – Now are we limited engineers  ???


Oh! How I long for those 25 years back………..

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A Soft Landing in L&T

( Contributor : K Narsaiah / Switchboard Group  )

Sent by :  HRS

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It was 9th December 1969. I was standing at gate No. 7.

After convincing the Security that I have been given a job in SPE and it is the day of my joining duty, I entered SPE (Switchboard Product Engineering Department), located on the 2nd floor of stage I building.

There was nothing to crow about my earlier job in BEST in Maintenance Department of O&M, as Substation Inspector.

It was an entry level job. We were allocated about 25 Indoor substations (11 KV substations) in a given Area.

We are supposed to visit all of them daily, along with a sweeper, get the floor cleaned and remove cobwebs.

The Technical part of the Job was :-

Record 11 KV feeder lines load (Ammeter reading) in a load sheet kept at the station.

Report abnormal Load  - heat/sound of OCBs (Oil Circuit Breakers) and Oil level, Silica gel colour of Out

Door 11 KV / 440 V power Transformers for replacement, etc.

Jyotiram Dhere, a colleague and me were of the opinion that we were wasting our time and knowledge in that job and we must look for a better job elsewhere.

One day, he came with the news that there was an Ad in the newspaper for Electrical Diploma Holders as Technical Assistants at L&T, Powai.

We both applied but only I was called for interview. He joined All India Radio as electrical engineer later.

V G Purohit and me were asked to stay behind after the interview and the rest were told to go.

We were offered lunch in the canteen and asked to come the next day again, for final Interview.

VSK (V S Kaushikkar) took me to MPW in C building, Gate No. 1.

Later, that evening, I was standing at the BEST bus stop opposite gate No.2 for a Bus to Andheri station.

A car came from Gate no.1 and stopped in front of me. It was VSK. He asked me “Where are you headed?

I said Andheri station. He told me to hop in.  

Since I was already employed elsewhere, I was bold enough to ask him whether I was getting the job, since I had already spent 2 casual leaves.

He didn’t say YES but said that I was being considered.

I got the appointment letter subsequently and thus joined L&T on 9th December 1969.

That was the beginning of my third innings, after the first one at Handloom House and the second one at BEST a long one in that.


That happened to be my best innings, better than the BEST innings.