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

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fond Memories / ASW

Ahmednagar Switchgear Special – Fond Memories

(  Contributor  :  H R Shenoy  )


I have a special love and special attachment to ASW. 

 I would also like to say, I have had a hand – or rather all 10 fingers - in its formation and its Information Systems growth later because I happened to type the report about Switchgear Expansion Proposal.

Around late 60s or early 70s L&T Management wanted Switchgear to expand outside Powai.  

Mr KL Kanthan, my boss then, was assigned the task of identifying a suitable location within Maharashtra.  Two places I clearly remember him having visited were Nasik and Ahmednagar.  

He fell for Nasik because it had already industrially developed to some extent, water supply was good and the weather was nice.

But the Government of Maharashtra wanted us to industrialise Ahmednagar and they had their way.

I joined Data Processing Section in Powai in 1981.  

Around 1987, ASW was facing problems with information systems.  AKShukla was in charge of DPS there.  

Most of our contacts were on MTNL and BSNL lines and you can imagine the quality of communication.  So I decided to visit ASW to do some knowledge transfer and hand-holding, since I myself had undergone the learning process the hard way.

Mr RW Kuklani was then in charge there.  

I had joined almost same time in PSW or may be somewhat earlier and he was a good friend; we were next table neighbours for a few years, so to say.  

However, as a Manager at ASW at first he did not like my visiting without his invitation or permission.  Nevertheless, that visit was one of the many I paid to help them settle down and sort out issues there, as also help Switchgear manage its Information Systems effectively.

Now that RWK he is no more, I can reveal that his nickname was Captain Cook.

I too had my nicknames in the office.  

Pretty late in working life, I was awarded the title Guruji by a few.  However, I came to know that in the Computer Centre which I used to frequent, I was named Yamadoota.  

I came to know about it after retirement and I never asked why I was bestowed this title, just as I did not ask why I was called Guruji.

On later visits to ASW, I would spend some 15 minutes or so with RWK, discussing various issues which I attended to during that visit along with the DPS in charge there and then going down the memory lane with only two of us present.  

He would laugh to his heart’s content.  Juniors who always considered him a stern boss would ask me,

 ‘What is going on between you and him? How do you make him laugh?”

From 1987 to 1991, when I was in Dombivli, I used to travel by ST bus from Kalyan to Nagar via Malshej ghat - simply because I loved to be in the company of village folk and their Marathi tone.  

A couple of decades earlier in Mumbai I too was a village folk and Dombivli was not much different. 

The bus ticket to begin with was Rs 26.50 one way and since I was often staying in the Guest House, my total bill for a 2 -3 day trip would be around Rs 200.

On the way to ASW during one of the trips, I got hold of some great quality ‘guavas’ – some 2 kg – and distributed among watchmen who were simply delighted.  

This was the factory weekly off day. Their hands must have been tired of saluting every big and not so big guy entering the factory and leaving it, that lowering them to receive something like what I gave them must have been a delightful experience.

Now that culture of raising hands to salute is supposed to be spreading to Maharashtra Mantralaya – MLAs want policemen to salute them and ministers want IAS officers to stand up whenever they enter or leave the IAS officer’s chamber.

Some British legacies seem to be taking rebirth.  As far as I am concerned, I have told even my Society watchmen not to do it.

After that guava treatment I gave the watchmen, I received royal treatment from them.

Only during the last 5 years of my working life did I take a hired car – very often 118NE, a great car.

It was one such journey in 118NE.  

SN Ganwankar, a Manager who had joined DPS from Mahindra, was with me.  We were continuously singing in the bus, old Hindi film songs.  

Some place after Malshej (I have great memory of a sunset evening on a monsoon day on one of my earlier return journey by ST bus), there is a river which was in full flow.  I told the driver to reverse the car.   We sat on the bank with feet dangling in water for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Of the myriad friends I made at ASW, Prashant Pande, is the greatest. 

 He was Production in Charge when I visited first.  He had a pleasant personality as a young engineer – I do not mean to say that he lost it later.  

Sharad Mande was another addition later.  Of course, PL Badami from Powai posted there was yet another close friend; he succumbed to cardiac arrest very early in his career.

I along with Sharad Mande made it a point to respond to Pande’s invitation for his daughter’s wedding at Pune a few years ago – much after my retirement and his leaving ASW for greener pastures.  We reached there by evening, attended the reception and left by midnight train.

Just prior to retirement, I made it a point to meet RWK at Nasik, where he was heading the Glass Factory.  

From there I travelled to ASW and wanted to shake hands with my well-wishers I had there – one last time as colleagues.  It was an unannounced visit.  

Surprisingly, Mande and Sambhajirao Shendkar arranged a quick farewell get together, which touched me.  I was all emotions when I spoke about my association and my fond memories.

Thank God, ASW is a part of many of my memory bank and my professional achievement, however small it was.

HR Shenoy, 7666128505

Co-Founder, Tejora Technologies Limited, tejora.com


My note :

At some point of time , both , Group 2 ( Heavy Engineering ) and Group 3 ( Switchgear ) , had made elaborate plans to set up their factories at Nagar

I think , Group 2 had even put up a open factory shed and started a Training Centre , which I had visited

I realized that , if both the Groups were to be located close to each other , we may simply be " duplicating " the " Powai Climate " , as far as the " Clash of two , entirely different Cultures " , is concerned

We would face the very same problems that we were facing in Powai

Both Groups will get constrained in evolving their very own unique " Personnel Policies " independent of each other

Nagar , would simply become another Powai - requiring a " GM - Nagar" , to mediate between the two and present a common interface to the BKS Union  !

I prepared an elaborate note to Corporate Management , strongly recommending that ONLY ONE of the Groups , move to Nagar

I think , Corporate Management saw the logic in my argument and decided that only Group 3 will expand at Nagar


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