Me, Brahmastra?

Could anyone during his career have been compared to Brahmastra in terms of work to be done by him. No chance, I believe. But, I was once compared to Brahmastra (the powerful arrow of Brahma, the Creator). For a moment, I could not believe it – it was by none other than the Secretary (to GOI ) of the Department, where I was a Joint Director. My immediate reaction was one of apprehension – what if the Brahmastra failed; and, at the same time, one of jubilation in my being bestowed with such divine power. How did it happen? The Secretary (Mr. Rajamani) was in hospital for treatment of a heart ailment. The doctor, who was treating him, wanted a small favor – a message of good wishes from the Minister of the Department for a conference of cardiologists for publication in a souvenir. The deadline for printing was fast approaching and he wanted the Secretary to help. The Secretary suddenly found himself in a dilemma. If he expressed his inability, that would mean that he is not powerful, if he said yes, how could he manage lying in hospital?

The Secretary knew that I had worked earlier with the Minister in his personal staff, and thought that the the best and only person who could really help him and the doctor was me. And I was entrusted with the job of getting the message on time, when one full day and eleven hours was all that was left.

Now my ability was on test, but then I liked challenges. Soon, I was In action. As I was leaving home for office, a telephone call came from the doctor.”Mr. Subramaniam, the Secretary mentioned to me…….. not only that, he said ‘he has used the Brahmastra now”. Mustering enough courage, I had no option but to reply, “in that case, it cannot fail”. Soon after I reached office, I called up the Minister’s office. The Minister was in Parliament and was expected back only in the evening. In between, the lurking fear in me raised it’s head – will the Brahmastra fail? I did not want to take a chance. I went to the Minister ‘s office at 5.00 p.m. And waited for one hour. Then I came to know that he was expected in office only around 8.00 p.m. I did not want to waste my time. I scribbled a small note for the Minister with a polite request to clear the message (indicating the deadline) and wanted the Personal staff to do the rest.

After reaching home, I called the Minister’s office. Imagine my joy when I learnt that not only had he seen my note, the message had been dictated and someone was typing it and would send it to the Minister’s home for signature, since he had left office. The ‘Brahmastra’ had started working, I thought. I had a peaceful sleep. Next morning at 8.00 a.m. I rang up the Minster’s house. They asked me to call around 9.00 a.m. This time I learnt that he had corrected the message again and left for a meeting. He would sign on return to the office. Another call at 9.45 a.m. to Minister’s office. ‘message re- typed and waiting for signature’ was the reply I got. Another call I made at 10.20 a,m. Yes, the ‘Brahmastra’ has reached it’s target, for the message was ready, finally signed. I told them I would collect it personally and rushed to the Minister’s office (luckily a car was at my disposal). I collected the message and rushed to the hospital in the peak traffic, and reached there at 10.55 a.m. Walking briskly through the corridor, I was interrupted by the daughter of the Secretary: ‘My dad was enquiring about you’, she said. I didn’t pause for a reply and reached his room right at 11.00 a.m. The doctor was there too. Both gave a stare at me which really implied, ‘what about the message?’ and I did flaunt it to the Secretary, who handed it over to the doctor. The Secretary boastfully told the doctor:’I told you know……………..’ and the doctor completed: ‘he is the ‘Brahmastra’.

I muttered within myself ‘wasn’t the Minister the real Brahma who, perhaps sensing my predicament, granted me the boon (the message) at the right time and came to my rescue? For, all that I had done was scribbling a few lines and calling up his office repeatedly!! Well, the Secretary wanted to get the job done and tried to boost up my confidence and for me I felt happy that I could justify the confidence he placed in me.

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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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