Help, unsolicited

I was in Crawford Hall, which housed the offices of the Mysore University, to get some documents for a friend, when I ran into Krishnappa, the driver I had known during my late father’s tenure as the V-C two decades ago.

Back then we had run into conflict, and my father had hired a new driver, after which Krishnappa rarely visited our residence. That day, Krishnappa took me to the section concerned and told the staff that the V-C wanted my work to be attended to, repeating the refrain at every desk until the required document was in hand. On our way out, I told Krishnappa that it was not proper to make references to the V-C without his knowledge. He replied nonchalantly, “When I drive him home this evening, I will mention that you were here to get some work done and that I got it done. He won’t mind.”

I next met Krishnappa in my office. A meeting of the Selection Committee under the chairmanship of the V-C had been arranged in our campus. After bringing the V-C to our campus, Krishnappa, while talking to me, said that the V-C had made a reference to my father on the way from Bengaluru earlier in the day, but I had to cut him short as it was time for me to appear before the committee.

Several hours later, Krishnappa barged into my office. “Amma, you have been selected!” he said. Obviously, he had eavesdropped on the discussions in the car as the members proceeded for lunch. After lunch, the V-C had returned to his office. Krishnappa had then raced in the car to convey the good news to me. After adding a few more tidbits, he rushed back before he could be missed.

I had to often visit Nirman Bhavan in New Delhi (which housed several central ministries) in connection with official work. To gain entry, a handwritten pass issued at the reception desk was mandatory. On one occasion, as I waited for the staff in-charge to arrive, an officer in the Health Ministry, noticing me at the gate, asked me to accompany him. The guard said, “Not without a pass.” The officer’s PA deputed for the purpose got the same response. So, I continued to wait. Then came Mr V, a desk officer in the Health Ministry. On his asking, the guard promptly let me in although I still didn’t have a pass.

I was to attend an interview there under the chairmanship of the health secretary, Government of India. Post interview, at closing time, I reached the exit gate. So did Mr V! Beaming at me, he said, “Madam ji, congratulations! You have been selected.” Obviously, he had come to know of the committee’s decision. Since I was the only candidate to have been interviewed, the committee could have decided to call for fresh applications. I was pleased to know that it was not to be.

One of life’s more delightful moments is when one receives help that is unsought and unexpected. Both happy tidings were confirmed later.

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Help, unsolicited

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