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

L&T Canteen

L&T  Canteen

( Contributor :  Arvind Rao  )


"My L&T Story" - has inspired me to share this with you all. 

Depending on response I shall persist or desist from further assaults. Do let me have your feedback. 

Thanks HRS and HCP for initiating this, and thanks to all the rest for contributing and also encouraging with comments and responses. 

HCP repeatedly was asking serving L&Tites to also send in their stories - so here is mine now. 

I started writing this about a week ago, kept on writing till it was 4-5 pages long, but just when I thought i was rambling off - one of the messages from the group - saying "bore people in installments" caught my eye, and I truncated this story to only the portion around Lunch and Tea (one of the sobriquet's under which we lovingly call our favourite company !

Tea Tray service

During the first few months after I joined L&T in SPD (Switchgear Process Development), I had opportunities to meet several senior persons like Dr. RC Panjwani, Mr. Devender Nath, Mr. S Samu, Mrs Rahimtoola, Mr. V Malik and others 

- some as a part of the joining formalities and a few just coincidentally, and found that each time I was invited into someone’s cabin, a white clad person appeared with a tray of fine bone china and served us tea or coffee. 

I was fascinated at this magical appearance and spent some quite time wondering how it was managed !

Canteen conquests and contests

I recall the wooden partition that separated the chaff from the wheat in the LR (as the canteen was also referred to). 

Lunch break was a luxurious 40 minutes when I first joined, but a carom board in the department was a bigger attraction and ensured that most of us were back from the hilltop in less than 15 minutes. 

I don’t recall anyone ever carrying their lunch box from home in those early days, because the canteen catered to a variety of needs and diets – religious to fad all included.

The conquests for us young bachelors at the time was to be able to match our timing of reaching the canteen steps coincident with the bevy of beauties from Gate 5 - CHR, PAC and Internal Audit, who used to share our lunch timings and were the only break in the monotony of a largely all-male sea of Gate 7 employees. 

Grabbing strategic places at adjacent or facing tables so that we could enjoy a beautiful eyeful along with getting our stomach full was the target for each of the large contingent of highly eligible bachelors we were lucky to have in SPD over a long period of time.

Wednesdays were one of the days when everyone’s lunch timing started earlier than usual, to avoid having to scavenge in a tray full of only water added gravy and chicken spare parts – because the early worms would get all the birds (to misquote a famous saying with due apologies to litterateurs).

I remember wondering about asking the canteen managers whether the farms from where the chicken was ordered was near some nuclear waste dump site, because they rarely seemed to have any legs, breasts or wings and the neck pieces that we used to find appeared to be extruded at a Dunlop factory. 

All said and done, having passed 4 recent years of student life in a hostel where food is very indifferent, most of the engineers and I were only too happy to wolf down whatever was served as it was hot, wholesome and the menu changed every day, for the week.

Break Times

So even though almost everyone complained about something or another - we were all enslaved by the habit of the watery tea and coffee (except on Sundays) and oily vadas, 501 soap cake sheera, poori bhaji packets that were used to stop creaks in the Godrej revolving chair springs and sev boondi that ended up as chakna or bhel ( depending on whose company it was eaten in ) 

The fact that all of us survived to talk about those days - means it was as healthy a habit as any.

Thanks for reading!

Warm regards


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