LIFE IS A JOURNEY WITH EXPERIENCES TO ENJOY[MY FIRST-------------] My first appointment was as an analyst in a college testing Lab on a princely salary of Rs. Ninety per month.I shared accommodation with colleagues in the college campus and had my food in the college canteen.We used to wait for Sundays when roasted cashewnut,vegetable Biriyani and Lemon juice were the added attractions.My total expenditure was Rs.sixty per month and I sent Rs.thirty home by M.0.The expenditure included two films a month followed by Coffee in Ideal Café.Transport was by cycle-doubles.Idid not have to pedal ,the advantage of being short.It was a wonderful life with friends,greenery all around and sometimes my boss accommodating me in his cycle. The year 1957. As a child in the third standard in Thanjavur Ganapathy Agraharam ,I studied in a school close to the railway line.Trains used to wait for the signal when the boys used to wish the Britishers good morning.The year was 1944 and the Britishers used to wish us back and throw chocolates to us.They were travelling First class and were attired in night suits.This made an indelible impression on me.When I got appointed in corporate sector in 1960 the appointment letter stipulated first class as my eligibility.The first thing I did on getting my salary was to buy a night suit before my travel.My brother scolded me on the extravagance but it was a childhood dream realised as far as I was concerned.It is a different matter that none of my co passengers noticed me inspite of subtle movements to show off my night suit. I changed my job and shifted to Cuddalore.Sales officer was a big designation those days.Every one addressed me as SO sir.My status went up a few notches when a gleaming Ambassador car with ending number 5000 was placed at my disposal[my first car]. I learnt driving and drove at great speed.I used to drive to the beach and enjoy the serene atmosphere.Girls instead of looking at the car with admiration as they show in the ads ran for their life as the car had L board. I shifted to Chennai and joined a corporate house as Assistant Manager.After an year, in a Managers conference the GM announced the company's plan to open an office in Orissa .He extolled the advantages of working in a virgin market and how success in the market will speed up career progression.Any Volunteers ? he asked.I raised my hand and found that only my hand was raised among thirty people participating in the conference.Immediately I realised something was amiss and tried to bring down my hand to the original position.Hold on, thundered my GM.He called everybody as shameless fellows and complimented me for the spirit to accept challenges.Inspite of my immediate boss trying to stop me,our GM stood his ground. Fifteen days later found me on a hopping flight from Chennai to Bhubaneshwar via Hyderabad,Vijayawada and Vizag.It almost took six hours but still I enjoyed the journey.This was my first experience of travel by air.Subsequent flights for two years were by postal flights[Dakota] via Calcutta.Flights carrying mail from Calcutta,Delhi,Chennai,Bombay used to meet at Nagpur and exchange mail and passengers around midnight.These flights were cheaper and my eligibility was restricted to these flights.” Once you have tasted flight,you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been and there you would long to return” My first experience with five star hotel was Lalith Ashoka In Bengaluru.I enjoyed my stay and the expense statement aristocracy.. In the subsequent years I stayed in almost all the five star hotels in India and quite a few abroad but the joy of my first stay in Lalith Ashok could not be matched. For the first time I was included in the corporate membership of Secunderabad club followed by Poona club a few years later.The membership brought joy to the entire family unlike the other firsts with me as the sole beneficiary.Mythili and daughters went on a rampage with the library which paved the way for my daughters becoming graduates in literature.Masal dosa,coffee followed by a film was the exciting routine followed on Saturdays.There was something for every one to pursue his/her interest. In September 1984,my boss told me that he had nominated me for a three week course on Statistical Application in Marketing in an international Development center in Alabama,US.I expressed my reservation on the subject ie Statistics which I was not fond of.My boss said “This is in fact a holiday for you-I am not going to give you test on statistics after you return.The schedule and duration suits us keeping in view your other official commitments.There I was on Air India flight to New York,followed by American airlines to Atlanta-Muscle shoals. I stayed in a motel run by a Gujarathi who took a fancy to me for being a strict vegetarian.Gujarathi preparations with Mexican mutations flowing into my room with unfailing regularity delighted me .An impetuous indiscretion to hire a taxi in Paris on my way back turned my savings to ashes. Before Marriage, nocturnal visits deep inside a jungle in a jeep with canvas covering removed and fixed with a searchlight fascinated me.Waiting in the watch tower near a water source and watching tiger and other animals drinking water is to be experienced and not explained.The animals’coats shone as if they had just returned from a beauty parlour.Similipal tiger reserve in Orissa[Royal Bengal Tiger] Mukundpur,MP Rewa[white tiger] and Mudumalai[elephants] were my favourites.I stopped these nocturnal adventures after marriage. I was asked to speak to an elite international audience on Growth and Decline of Cooperative sector in Agricultural sector.I became nervous and restless.I had read somewhere that if you carry the audience in the first ten minutes you breeze through the rest.I opened my presentation with a cartoon by R.K.Laxman. “A robber enters a bank,holds a gun on the Managers head and says”I have come to rob the bank-open the safe room”The manager replies”Relax-why should you take the trouble of robbing the bank.Instead you can avail an equally convenient loan facility”.This is how cooperatives function I started.Audience enjoyed the reference-the ice was broken-my presentation went off splendidly.Dale Carnegie said “ THERE ARE ALWAYS THREE SPEECHES-THE ONE YOU PRACTISED,THE ONE YOU GAVE AND THE ONE YOU WISH YOU GAVE. When we start on a journey we encounter problems,face challenges,get opportunities and enjoy success.Barring a few, it is always a forward march with new avenues,life enrichment,enviable achievements much more than what we expected out of life when we started the journey.But the first will always remain the first in our memory.” Deliverance is what I went through first time and I Chalk it up as a learning experience”for achieving new heights in life.