THE NEW MILLENNIUM AND THE NEW MONUMENT.
It was not unusual for our Principal to call for a faculty meet on any Saturday, when we faculty did not have much work to do. Most of the sessions ended by Friday evening. And since the next sessions would begin on Monday morning, a few faculty utilised the opportunity to relax , refresh and also rejuvenate themselves.
During some of the faculty meetings, there would be healthy academic discussions, necessitating each of the faculty to strain every nerve to show off his best thoughtful process. Faculty were drawn from different backgrounds and so it was not surprising their patterns of thinking were also different. Having said this, let me also confess that most of these meetings related to mundane matters to be forgotten the moment the meeting ended.
That Day proceedings of the faculty meet were however unanticipated. None of the faculty could have anticipated such a query or question springing from the Head like that.
The top item in the agenda was already ringing in the minds of all .
Yes. That was
HOW TO GO ABOUT MEETING THE CHALLENGES CONFRONTING LIC ON THE EVE OF Y2K AND HOW WE FROM ZTC COULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE ORGANISATION IN THE PROCESS.
I saw in the hands of the front-line faculty a few sheaths of paper . Notes they must be to enable them to jot down or pour out or focus during the discussion, I felt.
The meeting started with a welcome note by Madam Principal. Orthodoxy was ambient .
The ceramic plate and cup filled with water wherein swam roses of colours distracted one's attention.
Unconsciously I counted number of roses. red, pink, yellow, golden, all fresh from garden.
Why this new item ! Everyone must be wondering
At the same time, it was bewildering and puzzling too to spot some 20 to 25 bricks arranged in a corner of the chamber.
May be some masonry work is to be done during week end..! Or any message to all ?
BE HARD BUT BE PASSIONATE TOO, TO YOUR JOB !!
Sooner the welcome was over and agenda unfolded, my good friend fondly called The Friday Man started on the first item in the agenda of that day:
That was Review of Last Week's performance. Not only in academics, but in providing the best academic atmosphere for the trainees during the last week.
Our Principal interrupted: " Let us start from the last point in the agenda. "
Everyone brooded over the list.
It read: " y2k celebrations "
She said, "As I was coming from my quarters and just crossed the welcome arch, from somewhere I hit an idea......"
Everyone looked at her expectantly.
"Suppose we are sanctioned 100 Crores ...don't ask me how it is possible and all that... how will we spend it ? "
It was a query posed literally to the right brainy people. But every faculty rushed to come forward to score an edge over others.
Suggestions started raining cats and dogs.:
Vying with one another the faculty responded one after another .
"We will construct new buildings for our ZTC in pattern and design of Nalandha"
"Provide 5 star hotel ambience in our Hostel Rooms "
"Connect Every Room at the hostel to our Computer Net work Learning Centre, so that those who come for computer based training stay at their rooms to learn in the Computer related areas."
"ZTC can also contemplate conducting classes ONLINE for all the sales personnel. Our Faculty may interact with prospects whenever the prospects have questions which our sales persons do not have ready made answers "
"ZTC can establish a micro Training Centre at every Branch "
"Can We think of something like instituting a Chair in pattern of Overseas Universities to do continuous research on the life assurance products available in India compared to other countries. Could the Research Services do a simultaneous study of the ongoing needs of the people of our Nation consistent with the growth of the Nation, I mean the GDP ?"
quipped my brainy friend Jayaraman who later to become RM in charge of Customer Support Cell.
To match his view, another faculty jumped into the dias with his vacation idea.
"Send All the Faculty to Management Schools for higher learning "
Our Principal listened to all. " Anything else ! ?"
"Why not we be given Rs.2 crore each . We will say GOOD BYE " someone said. Everyone had a hearty laugh.
With a not-so-satisfied look, our Principal looked at me. I was seated next to her. It was unusual for me not to open my mouth. Everyone knew that once I start talking it was difficult for anyone to stop me.
"Madam ! I do not know whether this discussion itself is hypothetical. I wish it is not so."
"Let us believe the sanction is real."
"Then possibly, one best way of spending this 100 crores is to spread the gospel of LIC message to the nook and corner the country. "
"we can think of ways and means as to how best we can reach all the households in our country especially the women to spread the gospel of insurance "
"I do not follow"
"Madam ! My understanding is that of the people who are insured, percentage of women to total insured is at a disadvantageous level"
"Disadvantageous ! to whom?"
"To themselves. I believe that unless the women , at least the working women are fully conscious of the need for life assurance, the society as a whole may not be able to progress fast..."
"VP is talking ideals..." A friend of mine interjected.
"Yes. One must have a vision. And I thought we at ZTC must have a vision for our Industry as a whole. This discussion, at least the start of it , provides that trigger." I said.
"Then, what shall we do in concrete steps? " asked the Principal , looking at the bricks.
"I understand, Madam. To begin with, let us publish a book on WHY ONE NEEDS LIFE ASSURANCE and see that this book reaches every home of the country. Let the book be so simple as to be understood by all women especially in rural areas too"
"So you want to publish a book as a memoir for this y2K Celebrations."
"Possibly Yes. To start with 10 lakh copies First Print."
i continued: " if you permit me to continue, I have in mind the name of the author too !" I looked at my scholar friend Jayaraman . "With his authorship, the book , I am sure, will serve the purpose "
There was a phone call. Possibly the ZM was online.
The discussions on the agenda I thought ended.
But it did not.
As the idea that triggered led us all into another road in another direction.
To commemorate the Event 1.1.2000, it was decided to have a monument erected at the entrance of our Zonal Training Centre.
And it was a BOOK, in granite Stone. At an Elevated Pedestal
Engrained in THE BOOK the message of LIC
Our Principal took all the pains to travel a hundred kms with a few faculty to spot the right kind of granite stone and the right sculptor to engrave
OUR MESSAGE on THE BOOK
FOR ALL POSTERITY
THE MESSAGE FROM LIC WOULD REMAIN FOR EVER AND EVER.
PERHAPS IN A FEW HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW
CLOUDSHARING PLATFORMS, DRIVES OF SERVICE PROVIDERS WOULD BE TAKING OVER THE ROLL AND PURPOSE OF 'BOOKS'
NONE WILL BE BUYING OR WRITING A BOOK TOO AS EVERYTHING IS WRITTEN IN DIGITAL FORMS AND STORED IN CLOUDS.
THAT A PAST CIVILISATION USED 'BOOK' AS A TOOL OF COMMUNICATION WOULD ALSO BE PART OF HISTORY.
BUT THIS STATUE OF A BOOK AT THE ENTRANCE OF ZTC CHENNAI WILL BE EVER AND EVER A STANDING MONUMENT AND TESTIMONY TO
ALL FOR WHICH OUR INSTITUTION
LIC STANDS FOR .
THE BOOK MONUMENT PHOTOGRAPHED TODAY AND SENT TO ME BY SRI NATARAJAN HGA ON THE EVE OF THE TEACHERS' DAY.
THE GRANITE MONUMENT
WAS INAUGURATED ON 1.1.2000 BY OUR ZONAL MANAGER
IN THE AUGUST PRESENCE OF ALL REGIONAL MANAGERS
AND SENIOR DIVISIONAL MANAGERS OF CHENNAI.
HE IS NOW A PENSIONER LEADING ONE OF THE GREAT ORGANISATIONS OF PENSIONERS.
ARE YOU ABLE TO IDENTIFY HIM? HE WAS ONE OF THE PIONEERS IN THE ACADEMIC FIELD OF OUR INSTITUTION.
ZOOM THE PICTURE
LET ME ZOOM MY ASSOCIATION WITH HIM RIGHT FROM 1978 WHEN I FIRST MET HIM AT MDC.MUMBAI.
LATER HE WAS PRESIDENT OF CLASS 1 OFFICERS ASSOCIATION AT MY CENTRE WHEN I WAS THE SECRETARY.
HE LATER OCCUPIED ONE OF THE PRESTIGIOUS POSITIONS AT THE CO. HE WAS ED(HRD) DURING 90s, IF I AM CORRECT.
LET IT BE. LEAVE ALONE ALL THE CHAIRS TO THOSE HE LENT LOVE AND LEADERSHIP.
I REMEMBER HIM JUST FOR ONE THING.
HE IS A GREAT TEACHER.
TODAY IS TEACHERS' DAY.
LET US SALUTE HIM, HIS HARD WORK IN OUR INSTITUTION .
IF HE HAD ONE ADDICTION ,
THEN IT WAS DEDICATION TO THE INSTITUTION.