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Ablaze in a Blizzard

Ablaze in a Blizzard - Col.(Retd.) P. Ganesan





The Career Beginning



Career Growth

I grew up in a carefree environment. The village activities demanded busy schedules for individuals, for the domestic animals, and for agricultural activities. For example I used to get up by 04.30am in the morning, cleaned up self, took the bulls to the field, ploughed the field till the field assistants took over from me and returned home. Then I milked the cows, got ready for school, and ran 5 km to reach the school by 09.00 am. Even though brothers, sisters and number of people were at home, no one dictated what was to be done and it was a clear understanding of the daily routine among us. The physical activities in the village naturally kept the youngsters like me healthy and energetic as village life was a survival of the fittest. Injury, danger to life due to animals, flood, fire, etc. together were coexisting and growing under such environment made me absolutely brave and carefree. I flew off from the village with that spirit in me to a challenging world outside.

It was in 1958 when I left my village in pursuit of higher education I had literally no idea about higher education but followed my eldest brother's instruction blindly. He on his own decided to educate me on engineering line. Instead of looking at long distant goal he was in a hurry to get quick return and hence decided to send me to diploma course only. I did not know where all he had applied to. But on one fine day he came home and told me that I had to go for an interview at Annamalai Polytechnic, Chettinad, then in Ramanathapuram district. In June 1958 I accompanied him to Ramnad along with my documents.

The destiny started drawing new lines in my Life book. The wings started growing in the process.


The flying hazard of just growing wings.

Chettinad is a dry rocky area of the ancestral land of Nattukkottai Chettiars popularly known as Nagarathars. The famous people in this community were Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar and Dr.Alagappa Chettiars.

It was actually Kanadukathan where the polytechnic was located. I stayed in the hostel from 1958 to 1961 and appeared for final exam by the Directorate of Technical Examination in April 1961. When the result was published a month later I did not find my number. I was shocked and tried to locate my friend's numbers too. To my utter surprise not a single number from my Polytechnic appeared. When the principal was contacted it was told that the results of all students appeared from Annamalai Polytechnic were withheld suspecting mass scale copying. It was declared that students from that institution would have to appear for a re-examination in a changed centre at Trichirappally. Without any hesitation I went to Trichy and stayed in my sister's house and appeared for re-examination. Later I was busy in my father's agricultural activities. One day in the late evening a friend of mine casually mentioned that some polytechnic result had come in the morning newspaper. I got excited and ran here and there to get the paper. Three lines news appeared in one corner of that paper "Result of Annamalai Polytechnic Re-examination" and only ten numbers published under it, as three first class and seven second class. I was thrilled to see my number under the First class list.....


Job searches the seeker

No.14, Sivankoil Street, Sannanallur had become very familiar address as the post man walked many times delivering appointment orders for me. There were offers ranging from Supervisor in Highways and Rural works, PWD, Electricity department, Union engineer in Panchayat Union, Public sector Projects etc. started pouring in. Obviously I was confused to select the best. As usual my elder brother came for rescue. He was an Upper Division Clerk in Highways and had seen engineering supervisors making money left, right centre. Corruption was not unknown in Govt. Depts. So he advised me to opt for PWD.

On 15th August 1961, I joined Special Minor Irrigation Programme Dept. of PWD at Pattukkottai. It was preparing an investigation report for renovation works on irrigation tanks in dry areas which depended on rain for agriculture. Within two months I was again transferred to Avudaiyarkoil near Aranthangi of Thanjavur district. By early 1962 I was once again transferred to Peralam close to my native place. By mid-1962, I was transferred to Koradachery. Perhaps all these moves were my elder brother's move to keep me close by.

In October 1962 a project across Vettar near Melattur converting an Anaicut into a Regulator came up in Vennar division of Thanjavur. It was about 7 to 8 Lakhs worth of project literally pouring into the river. The Dept. was looking for a reasonably honest bachelor to execute it. I was selected and moved to the site immediately as the work had to be executed during off season Dec-May.

The project at Melattur started in full swing as river water was closed at upper level Regulator. By April -May 1963 the project was completed. I got about 2000 to 3000 bags of cement saved for the Dept. and closed the accounts. But the contractor broke open the cement shed claiming that it was his profit. The Dept. supported the contractor as it was contractual work, the loss or gain should go to the contractor only. Later I resigned the PWD job.

Reflections






"Chettinad is a dry rocky area of the ancestral land of Nattukkottai Chettiars popularly known as Nagarathars. The famous people in this community were Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar and Dr.Alagappa Chettiars. "




"In 1961 getting a job for engineering qualifications is not that difficult at all. The Govt. based on results of professional courses appointed qualified students and the appointment order automatically reached their home."




"In Oct-Nov 1962 Indian political scene was seriously changed due to Chinese attack on India and the country was under Emergency."