When I was at Harvard…..
( Contributor : H R Shenoy )
I joined L&T on All Fools Day in 1963. I do not know who fooled whom – I fooled L&T or L&T fooled me. Some of my friends feel I fooled L&T. I do not agree with that; they are totally biased.
This is one case which will never be decided anyway, unlike Salman Khan’s drunk driving which is in High Court or Govinda slapping someone which seems to be in Supreme Court.
My own case is in no court – neither law nor tennis.
After working for a few years in L&T, we stenographers and typists in Powai were called for a test – typing, shorthand followed by an interview. I do not know whether I passed – with flying colors or without. I must have passed because I did not lose my job. If I had, L&T would have been a loser too. Gems like me are rare, I can claim with all humility though humility is not one of my virtues. If British Embassy had known that I am Gem, they would have taken me to UK, just as they did to Kohinoor.
Interview followed the tests on the Halda typewriter and Parker pen shorthand. Mr MH Pherwani, who I think was Dy General Manager handling General Workshops at that time, was interviewing me.
Later he moved to World Bank
After initial questions, the questions turned to Management topics. I was facile in answering them, I still remember, though I do not remember what the questions were.
At certain stage, he was a little surprised listening to my answers. He looked at my application form which I had filled when I joined, must have noted mentally my qualifications or lack of them, and asked me ,
“How do you know all this?”
My reply :
“ My boss is Mr HC Parekh. He gets by airmail Harvard Business Review and International Business Week. I read these magazines from cover to cover before passing on to him and he gets a chance to read. ”
The interview ended there itself. If I remember right (my memory is not all that bad) he shook hands with me for the first and the last time in my life.
Later on, after retirement, I visited Harvard University ( don’t get shocked, I was there for only one hour ) and now I can make statements like .....“When I was at Harvard….”.
Nobody would dare to ask me when, how long and what I was doing there.
I still talk like an expert on Management subjects. Nobody wants to listen to that talk is altogether another matter – they are the losers.