On November 19th 1989 I stepped carefully from the State bus ,my right hand firmly holding on to the bar ,after negotiating the broken rickety foot-hold, I eased myself down. I heaved a sigh of relief once my both feet were well on the ground , a task ,though simple one, was done without any incident.
I was not old ,barely in middle of forties ,but the fatigue stress of corporate job had intensified the telltale of the years on my face.
The Rishikesh bus stand was familiar sight ,crowded as usual with passengers thronging the place making unusual noise with push and pull for getting into and out of the buses.
It was return of the native for me as I had spent nearly a decade from 1973 to 1983 as corporate manager in the Glass unit in this beautiful town.
Joining the Glass decorative unit as General Manager I headed for the waiting car towards the picturesque town .
The car went past the busy streets ,much more crowded than years gone by , slow stream of cars ,honking of buses and trucks ,drivers shouted at one another.
Temples on the bank of The Ganges River
The town was still beautiful , standing on either side of Holy River Ganges, the placid rippling waters causing a cool breeze that fetched freshness to the torrid looks.
The sacred river flows through the city originating from Shivalik hills in Himalayas and flows into the plains of India . A small town ,encircled by tall Himalayan range of emerald forests ,with string of Temples ,big and small, stand along the river banks, a real treat to one’s eyes.
The tourists make a beeline for Char Dham(four ) sacred abodes, Badrinath ,Kedarnath , Yamnotri ,and Gangotri passing through the gateway of Rishikesh.
The Hindu pilgrims are of firm belief by visiting these places they seek salvation to heaven.
The car sped past the traffic and made way towards the TAPOVAN ,the site of our Decorative Glass unit.
We entered the gates of the Factory and Dr Lall , the M.D greeted me with a broad smile .
“welcome Kaul Sahib back to home” He said extending his warm hands for a handshake, which I took graciously.
“Thank you sir.it is pleasure to get chance to work with you again for an august company like BILT.” I replied politely.
“we are schedule to do decoration for beverage bottles for both Pepsi-cola and C o c a-cola and you have to do a lot of planning for decorating 500,000 bottles, mostly 300ml, per day.” D r Lall continued.
“ it depends on various factors . By the way what is production now?” I enquired anxiously.
“ About 100,000 bottles for various Indian customers. We need to reinforce infrastructure to enhance production and quality to cater to two giant multinationals .” Lall said with an air of finality.
“ I know you can do it . All I promise you will get my support and free hand to handle Plant affairs .” He continued emphatically.
“I shall put in all efforts to come up to your expectations” I replied back.
The meeting ended.
We went across the beautiful L a x man-J h o o l a for a sumptuous lunch at famous CHOTTIWALA.
“ I must thank you Lall Sahib for such a fabulous lunch. I have enjoyed every bit of it.”
“ Never mind , it is ok.” “ the next fortnight is crucial for us as both of the top executives of Pepsi-co l a and Coca -cola are visiting our plant here in Ta p o van for approving our plant operations . I want you to move swiftly on this so that we bag the full orders . By the way Kaul Sahib do you know any one from these two cos.” Lall Sahib asked anxiously .
“ Yes I know a couple of important guys from International Coke as well as Pepsi. But they are very professional sir and would be very strictly judging our skills of both operations and quality tests. We should get both orders but I need some immediate equipments for the laboratory for international testing of decorative bottles. These are very important” . I replied affirmatively.
“Discuss with the Purchase Manager and procure immediately whatever you require. Do not wait for my sanctions. I am going back tonight to Delhi and leave everything to you. I must have both orders . I trust your communication skills should be additional factor for our success. Good luck to you” l a l l sahib shook hands with me and proceeded to Delhi ,leaving me to fend for myself to accomplish the task as effectively as possible.
Needless to say we succeeded not in getting the full orders from both Giants but also in making huge profits for the company in the long run.
My second stint in R i s h i k e s h was very successful in all aspects and now a myriad of memories flow intermittently to bring a moment’s peace to the soul and body together.