Manaivi amaivadhentral iraivan kodutha varam[getting a good wife - Gods gift] Boss amaivadhendral vetrikku kidaitha uram[getting good boss - manure for success] THE INIMITABLE RANJAN The year 1972.I was working as Regional Manager in a well known company with Hubli as Head quarters and covering 60% of Karnataka.There was tension and anxiety in the air as Ranjan had just taken over as VP Marketing from the affable American boss who left for USA after his term. Ranjans reputation as a man with a fertile brain,indefatigable industry and no nonsense approach had preceded his arrival.I gathered from enquiry that he was a post graduate engineer from Cambridge,an impeccable pedigree and interest in various fields including Archeology.He was joining us after two decades of grooming in different positions in an MNC both in England as well as India.He was a divorcee. After a month he announced his travel plan to my area.I made a dress rehearsal of my presentation and field trip. First impression is the best impression and you don’t get a second chance was always my guiding principle. I visited Hampi and made a thorough study as our itinerary included Hospet.On his arrival, our arrangements as well as my presentation went off very well.We started our travel,reached Hospet and checked into the Tungabadra dam guest house.Unable to hide my newly acquired knowledge of Hampi I invited him to visit Hampi the next day,throwing casual hints about the Krishnadevaraya empire.He said let me refresh and come,we will have a chat on Hampi over drinks.Comfortably seated, overlooking the waves he asked me “have you read a book called the forgotten empire”I pleaded ignorance.For the next ninety minutes he extolled the beauty and prosperity of Vijayanagar empire as detailed by Italian visitors and their reports safely kept in the British Museum.These were discovered by a British gentleman and brought out in the form of a book.I felt totally inadequate with his deep knowledge and cursed myself for venturing a discussion on the subject. He was short tempered and could not take pretense while at the same time went all out for skill and job enrichment for those identified as weaklings.His philosophy-weaklings have become part of the family and therefore need help to come up. He was a chain smoker and used to bite his nails till nothing was left. One night I had a call from Davanagere that my officer there had gone beserk and started walking about the street in his innerwear and smashing glass windows in show rooms.I immediately rushed my deputy to trace him and bring him to Hubli.Simultaneously I informed Ranjan.His first question was whether I was harsh with the officer.I said no and in fact recognised him as one of the promising employees..After an hour Ranjan called me and gave me a set of instructions,”Take him to ---hospital and meet the neurologist and psychiatrist whom I have already contacted.Coordinate with Bangalore office who will pay all the hospital expenses.After treatment leave him at his house.Please reassure him that his absence till he recovers will be treated as paid leave.Instructions were crystal clear[that was his style] Later on we found out that the problem of the employee was related to his parents.He recovered but resigned to look after his farm. On a trip to Shimoga he scolded my officer in the presence of customer and some rank outsiders.The officer was shaken and was almost on the verge of tears.I kept quiet and that night I decided to quit in protest against flouting all cannons of man management.I had the full support of my wife on this decision.Next morning before leaving for HQ he gave me a set of instructions in his inimitable style and wished to know whether I had anything to discuss.That is all.I retorted that his handling of my assistant was distasteful and he had breached the protocol by the intemperate language which should have been directed at me and not my assistant. I told him the difference between berating and humiliation.There was a brief silence.Ranjan turned to me and said” sorry-I apologise for my irrational behaviour”.Please also convey my regrets to the officer. This was a totally unexpected response and Instead of quitting I looked at Ranjan with unabashed admiration. On a trip to rural Bijapur district I briefed him about a customer and told Ranjan that he had nine children.He was aghast.Inspite of a hectic schedule, he spent half an hour with the customer and convinced him to undergo vasectomy.I was given the responsibility of following it up and getting it done.I sent him the compliance report after three days and forgot about it.I was therefore surprised by a remark in my appraisal”exceptional performance beyond his role” On a difference of opinion with the MD he quit his job and was serving the notice period.By that time I was posted at Hyderabad. He visited Hyderabad to attend an official function.That evening I told him that I was concerned about his health and I would take him the next day to the Maharishi Institute of Transcedental meditation.As usual he said “let me refresh-we will discuss the subject over a drink”.In the cozy environment of Ritz hotel we sat near the swimming pool.”Have you read a book called sleep without pills? Oh not again I thought.He lucidly explained about Maharishi,what transcendental meditation does,how it is taught as a subject in some universities in US and that it was tried on American soldiers in Vietnam etc.I was transported into a different world and would have prostrated before him but for lack of privacy.In the interest of brevity I am excluding a number of incidents to confirm that he was an intellectual,commanded respect and trust as a man of impeccable integrity and a compassionate boss. He shifted to Bombay as CEO of a well known company.I met him after three months when I visited Bombay and it was refreshing to meet an extraordinary intellectual.After a month I was shocked to learn that he had passed away in his sleep.He was in his mid fifties. All these and much more flashed before my eyes when I took over as VP Marketing in 1991 to remind me of my responsibility in my new role. There is a song in Tamil”manaivi amaivadhendral iraivan kodutha varam- I have added Boss amaivadhellam Vetriku kidaitha varam-Don’t you agree?