Last month I had planned a project for rural area to be conducted by NGO I am consultant with. I was asked by President of that NGO to accompany him for a meeting with secretary of rural development department to explore if state would fund it. I was to give power point presentation. I agreed. So off we went on fine morning last week to the state capital where we had appointment with the concerned person at 1 pm. It was about 4 hours drive. Enroute he briefed me about the said secretary. I was told that he was not only honest and strict but deeply knowledgeable thus capable of asking probing questions. This was all fine with me as I always liked to associate with those projects where chances of misuse of funds was minimal.
When we were ushered in for the meeting I saw a well built Sikh gentleman occupying the chair. We sat down and I found him staring at me with little frown on his forehead. On my being introduced, he just got up and moved around the table reaching me in no time. He touched my feet exclaiming how lucky he was to see me after so many years. When he straightened, my mental computer locked onto who he was and I was transported back by more than 25 years.
I was in an organization as Head of administration & personnel. He was a junior assistant aged about 22 or so. He was hard working with a smile on his face always. He had done PG in psychology but being from a not so well off family took up the first job which came his way. He had a unsatiateable quest for knowledge. A few months down the line I found him to be little preoccupied in his thoughts. Though there were no slip ups in his work but it was evident that he was not his ownself. One day I asked him frankly if he trusted me to share what was bothering him. He told me that he had fallen in love with a girl of well to do family and she too reciprocated. Though they were from different castes, there was no objection from her family as they were broadminded. Only stipulation they had was that he upgrade his status. They offered him position in their business but he did not take it up as he was quite proud with a lot of self respect. He was not vain or egoist but practical. I told him why did he not sit for civil services examination. He frankly told that he was not aware as to how to prepare. Those days there were hardly any coaching institutes. I gave him some directions like going through guides available giving last five years or so question paper with solution, general knowledge book as well as keeping himself updated on current affairs by reading newspapers. He earnestly started preparing for it. I moved on thereafter and lost contact with that organisation.
Coming back to that day now, he did not listen to my protests while ordering lunch for us. He told that it will be such a pleasure to have lunch together. Over lunch he told the rest of the happenings. He cleared civil services examinations in first attempt. Thereafter there was no hitch in his getting married to his love. He did face some obstacles in his career due to being honest and strict but in the end it paid off. They had 2 children, a girl ,doctor and married, a boy in a good position as an engineer. He wanted me to meet them but due to paucity of time I requested him to let it be for next visit.
When we got onto presentation part, he just bluntly said that there was no need as if I had prepared the project and was involved in implementing it, he had no hesitations in sanctioning funds. He said that his faith in me was absolute.