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My brief public life

Over the succeeding years, my entire life had changed both inside and outside the Bank. My penchant for organization was coming to the fore and I started to take the lead in several activities for the Bank staff. Added to it was my growing fluency and effortlessness in making speeches ex tempore. I revived the Recreation Club which was lying dormant for many years and became its Secretary, a post I held for several years continually. While a majority of the staff consisted of seniors, younger blood was slowly being injected into it thanks to the sudden recruitment drive after Imperial Bank changed to State Bank of India. This development worked to my advantage as the youngsters were more forthcoming for recreational activities while the older staff appeared to shun such activities. Benefiting from my experience in Tirunelveli Branch I started a magazine circulation club, had an abandoned room in one of the unused buildings in the vast campus of the Bank turned into a Recreation Club where I provided facilities to play carrom and chess for the staff after office hours and which also served as the staff lunch room. There was encouraging response from the staff especially the younger lot. In course of time even the seniors (and some of the supervising staff) also joined in and participated enthusiastically in our activities. To keep the competitive spirit alive I organized in-house tournaments which were widely patronized. In course of time I added a table tennis board for those who wished to play a more active sport other than carom, chess and cards. In an adjoining room I organized a Coffee Shop for those who found a cup of coffee in between games exhilarating. Initially only coffee was being served but later snacks were also prepared and supplied. This formed the basis for a regular canteen to be opened a few years later when the Bank moved into a big and spacious building in the campus itself. During this period I also initiated the process to start a Staff Co-operative Stores and a Staff Co-operative Housing Society both of which today stand as a monument to the tireless efforts put in by me as a promoter. I served in the former as a Director but could not continue my association for long because of my promotion and transfers. I also served in the Staff Union in various capacities including as its Secretary for a few years. It was during the period of the major struggle and 21 day historical strike by the Union in 1961 for improvement of the basic scales of pay and allowances that I received a major boost to show off my leadership qualities. I also underwent a course in the Workers Education Scheme initiated by the Government of India as a Worker Teacher to train the staff in labour welfare and laws. By the time I was getting ready to start classes to the staff after successfully completing the training I was transferred on promotion that put paid to all my ambitions.

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