Who Moved My Keys?

Who Moved My Keys?

I am referring here to the bunch of office keys that I was to keep with me, as the trusted custodian, all belonging to the various cupboards and filing cabinets in the office of Prof. M.G.K. Menon, when I started working with him as his PA. He was the Director of then Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. For three or four months after I started working with him, I had no problem at all keeping all those keys safely with me. Safely, because many of them were keys for the fumbling cabinets, which were kept in hus own room, since these contained important an confidential files.

As is won’t with Prof. Menon, to use his own words, ‘it is customary for me to work on Sundays and holidays, whenever I am in town’, which he mentioned in passing at the condolence meeting arranged to mourn the death of his earlier lady PA, who unfortunately died in a car accident while on her way, in her car, to attend office on one such Sunday. I was thus working on a Sunday in his office. I went on doing my work, since he dictated several letters.

Some time in the afternoon, he had called Prof. Yash Pal to discuss something with him. Prof. Menon had gone home for his lunch and came around 3.00 p.m. or so. In the meantime, Professor Yash Pal had come to my room and he was sitting and chatting with me also. In the process, I saw him playing with the glass paper weight in his hands.

Prof. Menon came to his room and promptly asked me to send Prof. Yash Pal in.
The discussion continued, may be for over 2-3hours. Thereafter, he left. Professor Menon was still giving me work and I was also engaged doing my work. He went home fir dinner around 8.00 pm. He and Prof. Yash Pal were to travel to Delhi the next morning.

After finishing my work around 9.30 p.m. I started winding up. I was looking for the keys
and they were missing, where could this have gone, I wonders. No hunt, no idea, I and the peon Achuthan both searched for it everywhere, in my table drawers, on the floor, I side Prof. Menon’s room, practically everywhere. I was terribly upset. I called up Prof. Menon at his resident, his wife answers the call. having he was having dinner, he asked her to check his coat pockets which she did. And, called me saying not to worry and that I could go home. It was almost 12.00 at night by the time I left office. I cursed me, I felt I was careless, I had done a big mistake. Where could the keys have gone? Would I get them back? What all could be the implications and so on. Naturally,I didn’t have proper sleep.

Next morning onwards, I started worrying again, and prayed God for help. But something in me still told me that I had actually not lost the keys and that I would get them back. But how, and when, and whether at all. I thought the episode as a big black mark on me for my carelessness.

While I kept on thinking optimistically, and went on searching other nooks and corners,
something cam to my mind that I could consult a pujari, at a temple near my house, for whatever it is worth, since, I had heard that his predictions came true. I therefore went to the temple, prayed to the Gods there, touched the feet of Hanuman and waited for the pujari to come to his small hut within the complex. The moment I started telling him
about the incident, he asked: Hanumanji ke pair pakad ke aaye ho kya? ( have you come after touching the feet of Hanuman?). When I said so, without listening to me further, he said, go, chavee pandhrah din ke andhar mil jayega. I left, hoping fir the best. I told thus ti the peon and still remained confident and optimistic about the keys

Both Prof. Menin and Prof. Yash Pal left for Delhi next morning. If I understand right, both were to go for a conference in Japan, for about two weeks or so. The fifteenth day arrived, that evening also went off. I left the office, thinking that some miracle could still happen, that night Prof. Menon was to return from Delhi, after his Japan trip. As usual, I had gone to the airport ti receive him. I was sure that Prof. Menin would ask me first about the keys only. When both of us got into the car, time around 11.55 p.m. (when I had lost all hopes about the keys), Prof. Menon promptly asked: ‘have toughly the keys?
I started narrating the punditji’s prediction, when lo. He said: ‘here are the keys’. It was still 2 minutes to go to midnight – of the predicted fifteenth day. What a wonder. I asked him how did it happen.he said: ‘Prof. Yaspal when he was chatting with you, had also p,ayec with the keys and when he was called inside, he suddenly must have put the keys in his coat pocket. Yesterday, he was wearing the same coat (which also he had carried to Japan) and suddenly found these keys in the coat pocket. He then realized that it must be your keys and handed over to me. Whom should I thank – Prof. Menon, Prof. Yash Pal, the punditji’ or God. Well, I would say it was God who saved me, since I believe in him always.


About cvsubramaniam

Former Director, Department of Electronics & Informatiin Technology, Government of India.. Authored Book on Human Resource Management. Published 80 plus articles on HR, Management, S&T, general topics.
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