22nd July

Today is 22nd July, a landmark day as far as I am concerned, because it proved to be a game changer as far my life is concerned.

I was rather fresh university pass out with very little professional experience when I joined State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur on 22nd July 1985, which unfortunately is a redundant entity having merged with colossal SBI, as a Probationary Officer, a respectable and well sought after service in civil life. Alas, the first experience was none too pleasant, with my first branch being one of the notorious branches of New Delhi! I felt suffocated, regretting my decision to join SBBJ in preference to another Bank, whose offer was also simultaneously available to me! However, come October and were invited to the training centre at Jaipur for almost month long induction programme. Here I was exposed for the first time to people from all over – Orissa, Bihar, Bengal, Assam, South apart from Delhi- a mix of scholarly, erudite and interesting fellows. Not that we struck an immediate camaraderie; there were groups, sub groups, factions, which is not uncommon when people with vastly different backgrounds come together for the first time! We also, for the first time, met our seniors, who were vastly different from the crowd we were exposed to at our branches. Beautiful city of Jaipur added to the quality of our experience.

Fast forward to 2018 i.e 33 years later, I am drenched in nostalgia remembering good times that we had, especially during our first congregation in October 1985. The batch is not even half the original size. A few left within the first couple of years for greener pastures like IAS and SBI. When the Govt. decided to liberalise licensing of new banks, a host of new generation private sector banks took birth, more significant amongst them being Axis Bank, then known as UTI Bank. It’s founder CMD was the then MD of SBI, who had earlier headed SBBJ too. There was, therefore, an efflux of officials across grades from SBBJ to UTI that included the writer of this blog. Life continued till social media gave an opportunity to bring us together once again after a long hiatus.

Today professionally each one of us may be different- some are in private sector banks, some have migrated to other countries, some continue to have their tryst with SBI. Several of us are in different cadres, with one of us recently having been named to head a nationalised Bank. One of us has superannuated, one opted for early retirement, while most others will be doing so in next 2 to 4 years. One of us has died too. A few of us have their children doing very well and I have become a grandfather too! But when we are together on common platform, nothing matters – professional achievement, personal wealth, geographic location. Only thing that matters is that a relationship that started 33 years ago has only got stronger and stronger and while we shall start retiring, becoming feeble with age, having Alzheimer’s or what not and ultimately dying, we will always cherish those moments that we once spent together.

22 thoughts on “22nd July

  1. Dear Arvind, very well expressed thoughts and feeling’s which is very pure and emanated from the deep of heart. A few months back I echoed the same kind of feelings through our group.
    You know the beauty of this group as rightly pointed out , the organisation is now non existent but the persons who came together because of their connection with that organisation are united and enjoy every moment of their bonding as they used to do 33 years back. Great writing, please carry it on.

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  2. Respected Sir,

    It’s been an honour & privilege about knowing the facts of your golden yesteryear’s memorable days, which you have generously expressed. These fond memories are to be treasured for life, which are priceless.
    I am one of those fortunate person, who has been always admiring you. Having you as a mentor in my life is something indispensible. May the Almighty Bless you & we receive your guidance forever.


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  3. Awestruck Sir.. How eloquent you can be and that too instantly. Got a free flowing pen I guess which ensures free flow of ideas..

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  4. A nice write up but why look at darker side and that too with ailments like alzhemier, I shudder to think of it. God has always been kind to us, we have progressed mentally, professionally, financially and I think spiritually also. We are blessed with good relatives, friends and family and I am sure He will take care of us as He has been taking till now. Do not worry man, play with life till end with zeal, what has to come will come. मैं जिन्दगी का साथ निभाता चला गया, हर फिक्र को धुंए (though you know I do not smoke) में उड़ाता चला गया। Stay blessed

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  5. Yesterday I went to smriti van for a walk and guess whom I met? Amar Singh, our HR guy when we joined in 1985.
    Today I decided to visit Nawalgarh, the place famous for fresco painted havelies.
    We decided that we will have breakfast at any roadside dhaba on the way. Guess what happened? We stopped at Govindgarh, of all places. This was where I did my rural assignment in SBBJ.
    So what am I driving at?
    I left SBBJ in 2000 and have quit and joined many jobs since then but memories of SBBJ have this uncanny way of coming back. SBBJ may be non existent but it continues to be alive in our memories.
    Some memories just don’t die.
    One of them is the classical dance steps you did at the induction bonfire party.

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  6. Best part of the yesteryears journey is to relish those golden moments, celebrate the success be in terms of family, bonding and other worldly things….sir you are the look upto person for everyone who has known you….

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  7. Arvind, I completely echo your sentiments. In fact, I get overwhelmed by the thought that even after 33 very long years, and after many of have left the bank so long ago, and even though SBBJ itself no longer exists, we still have such a strong bond! Cheers to friendship and camaraderie.

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