K V Laxminarayanan, one of our Seniors Have Talent Season 1 winners, and a regular Seniors Today reader, shares some poignant moments of his experiences at Procter & Gamble (P&G). He unveils more… in a new series titled ‘Reminiscing’.
As we thank Laksh for sharing his experiences, we invite all our readers to share small anecdotes; this way, we all connect through our life’s narrative; we find that we have a common thread that weaves us together. And even when times feel challenging, we know we can find our inspiration through another friend’s story.
Greetings my friends (and fellow readers) – I am Laxminarayan, also known as Laksh, aka Lax – I have just completed 66 years in this world today i.e., on 24th Feb 2021, (born in 1955).
If there is anything unique in my case or life’s quirks – it is that things happened early for me, like:
- I started working at 17, alongside college studies
- Graduated at 20
- Post Graduated at 22 (Multiple)
- Found my soul mate at 23
- Bought my own house at 24
- Married at 24
- Dad at 25
- Father-in-law at 48
- Retired at 55
I started “Living” after I retired and till then working for 16 hours in the Big Good IT World from 1976 to 2011 I only “Existed”.
All said and done, I had excellent work experience and was fairly successful in my professional career in the corporate world with enough national and international exposure.
There are so may “Good and Not so Good” experiences I have that it is tough to choose as to what should I share. Nevertheless, let me talk about something that has some link to one of my passions “MUSIC” – the other one being “CRICKET”.
Well, it was in 1988 when I was working for a multinational organization called Procter & Gamble India Limited (P&G) in the IT department and had the huge task of automating our new plant that was commissioned in Hyderabad – but the location was Bontapalli District Medak – which was good one hour drive from the Begumpet airport then. We had a nice guest house near the airport, but it was some effort to reach the plant which was in wilderness so to say. The plant was to produce two of our products – Vicks Vaporub and Vicks Inhaler and the location was chosen as Hyderabad was a Power Plus location and the company too got some tax rebate for providing work opportunities to people in that area. My job was to implement an integrated system of Purchase, Accounts, Material, Manufacturing, Information, Control, System – acronym “PAMMICS”, which at that time (1988) was a very advanced offering with RDBMS called UNIFY and with the Operating System of UNIX and programming mostly done using “C” language besides “SQL” or Structured Query Language. The biggest challenge I had as the Implementation Head was to deal with a set of people who were not very strong with English, Systems and for that matter they had not seen a typewriter, leave along dumb terminals and desktop. My visits would trigger comments like “Oh!!! He has come again, now we have to work on computers” – besides the people related issues, the bigger challenge for me was the unstable or fluctuating power and unstable hardware that led to a fair amount of down time. Given that the plant was away from the city, it would take time for the hardware engineers to come over to set things right as the offices of most IT companies were in the city limits. That would mean a few hours of “Disguised Unemployment” – what would one do where there was no entertainment, no internet, no computer games and still had to wait for the hardware engineers to land up. The chips were down more often than not and imagine what would I do!!!
My Songs and Singing, Saw me Through
I would just head towards the parking area where our driver would have parked the huge Ambassador car that was used to pick up people from the guest house and a few people on the way to reach the plant by 8 am every day. I used to always keep some good cassettes of Mohammad Rafi and request the driver to play some sad songs – the top one being –
“Bichad Gaye, Bachpan Ke Sapne,
Armaanon Ki Aag Jale,
Kahin Saje Baarat Kisiki,
Kahin Kisi Ka Pyar Jale….
Kehado Koi Na Kare Yahan Pyar,
Jis Mein Khushiya Hain Kum,
Beshumaar Hai Gum,
Ek Haseen Aur Aansoo Hazaar”!!!
Well, I would sing along with Rafi Saab and as the song would reach the crescendo or climax, I would be yelling “KEHEDO KOI NA KARE YAHAAAAN PYAAAAAR” …. I must say that these songs were like real stress busters, and it took a full year and a bit more to have the entire system running online, plus educating all users.
The biggest achievement for me was when the same people who once almost cursed me for coming to Hyderabad, started asking me “Is this your last visit to this plant? We will surely miss you” – So 1988 and 1989, I was in Hyderabad for close to 70% of the time and had the privilege of going for picnics with the Product Assemblers (all girls), Technicians – men and staff members including Plant Manager, Production Manager, QC Manager, Engineering Manager, Accounts Manager and yours truly. We had prepared many parodies for the Annual Day event that people could relate e.g., “Vaporub Banaoonga Annaram Village Mein” similar to “Ek Ghar Banaoonga Tere Ghar Ke Samne” – the hit song “Oye Oye” from Trishula was modified as “Olay Olay” as we had one of our products called “Oil of Olay”!!! All the time spent in travel also had some benefits though away from family and growing kids, I could fly along- side the late cricketer ML Jaisimha from Bombay to Hyderabad and could discuss about a lot of cricket, (about which too I have written an article).
Well, all said and done, I enjoyed every bit of my work in P&G that laid my foundation for Technology and Management. Here, I sign off with a lot of nostalgia
Good Luck and Cheers!
As we thank Laksh for sharing his experiences, we invite all our readers to share small anecdotes; this way, we all connect through our life’s narrative; we find that we have a common thread that weaves us together. And even when times feel challenging, we know we can find our inspiration through another friend ’s story.
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