by Irtif Lone
It’s midnight already. I am to write. I write. I stop. I start thinking. Should I. Can I? I ask myself. I nod in affirmative. I know I might not find the words. I still take my chances. Here I go.
I have just returned from the farewell party, which I had thought would never happen. I never thought Dr Parray could retire. He should have not. Though he has now.
When I go to the office tomorrow, my intercom will not ring. I wish he calls me again and says, “hey, walsa youer”. And I would hurriedly leave whatever I am doing and run to his Office Chamber. would happen at least dozen times in a day. I can’t imagine, not running to his This office anymore.
I have been in JKEDI for about 5 years now, out of which I have spent some 22 months directly working with him. Had the privilege of being mentored all through this time. His belief in me, more than I would ever have in my own self.
While I am writing this, I am a bit nervous as usual. I also remember the infinite rounds I have done of his office chambers for some notes, which he would make me redraft a hundred times. I would give up, he would not let me. And sometimes he would totally redraft the piece and still call it mine. I still envy his enthusiasm, his vigour to work. He would shine like a sun, every day.
But, yes, the nervous part. I still am. Though this I will not send to him for redrafting or he will throw it way. He never liked people praising him. I sometimes would take the liberty. He would politely ask me to shut up; offer me some tea or ‘kehwa’ and give me a long list of tasks to be completed within a deadline. I would then curse myself for falling into the trap of having that tea.
When I joined EDI, I was amazed at the thought that I would be a government employee and working in such a neatly designed and brilliantly maintained the Administrative complex of the Institute. However, both the dreams were shattered within a weeks’ time. I was sent to district Samba. I had heard the name of this place in “Sholay”, though he was a character and not a District. And in the very first meeting, we had with Dr Parray, as new recruits, we knew we were here for a roller coaster ride. Stressful but amazingly overwhelming experience, I have had to work in Samba.
We seem to be going too far, I better straighten up. A couple of weeks back, I was getting some of the documents hurriedly approved. You ask why hurriedly. I say, no employee in this organisation ever has the time to do it at leisure. Sometimes when Dr Parray, would not be in office, mind if he has not taken a leave as much as I know in the last 14 years, and he would call me and ask me, “Tell me what you have done since morning?”. I would give out the details. And then he would in his energizing voice say “Wonderful”, and I would know, the bomb is about to explode. And then he would start with the list of works I had to complete. I would look at the clock and curse myself again for planning to leave at 6:00 in the evening.
But then isn’t this our USP, we are different because we would never delay our work, or we were never allowed to do so. I say this because this office has not lived a day without Dr Parray. Whatever we are today, we are because of Dr Parray. When tomorrow, he is not in the office. I don’t know how I would behave. What time would I leave office? Would I start to delay my works? Though I totally believe the character and values which he has imbibed in each one of us, we never let down his vision. Though we are on the touchstone, I believe we will overcome our challenges.
Is this getting too serious? It’s not meant to be. Ah. Yes. I missed. Where was I? Yes. I was getting some documents approved hurriedly and when we were through, Dr Parray asked me to sit. I have spent hours together sitting in his office, working and many times being pushed to make some decisions. I totally remember, when one day, I was asked to make a few administrative decisions. I was a bit stressed. What if I would take a wrong decision? What if somebody doesn’t like this or that. Perturbed. I ran to his office and sat in front of him. He was busy with some documents. And then he looked, I still remember vividly what he said. He said, “Irtif, all the right decisions will be yours, and if you take a wrong one, I will own it”. Seriously, can somebody say this? I was relieved. The matter of the fact is that he would always back his employees like a rock. I did make a few mistakes overtime but he always owned them. I would probably never have enough words to thank him for doing whatever he has done to shape me as a professional.
I again lost the track. Where was I? Oh, yes. That day, when he asked me to sit. I was getting my lesson on how to deal with administrative matters. And then he said, “Nobody believes that I am leaving, but the fact is I am”. That was probably the first time, that I thought about it. I couldn’t. I left it there. It was frustrating to think that someday he will stop coming to office.
Tomorrow, he probably would not. To come to terms with this hard fact would take time. And for someone else to fill in his shoes, of course, is a herculean task.
Note to Dr Parray.
Sir, I have not in my life seen someone with such a character and integrity. I know that your second inning would be much more beautiful than it has been so far. I am sure that you will give a part of your time to your second family, and JKEDI will always remain your first family. And I know, that your endeavor, of promoting entrepreneurship in the state will achieve newer heights. I pray that at some point in time, I again get to work with you. And more than that, that I am able to pursue whatever I have learned from you with the same vigour and energy that you have. I, Of course, have no qualms about saying that you are the father of entrepreneurship in the state of J&K.
Thank you, Sir, for what you have done for me, the Institute and the State.
(Irtif Lone is Executive Manager P&A at JKEDI.Ideas expressed are his own)