Three decades of service in a public sector bank has given a plethora of experiences that one would probably not get in any other profession. Once, a customer came into the bank with a severed ear of a cow. He had taken a loan for buying the cow and now informed that the cow had died of a snake bite the previous night. To claim the insurance amount the ear of the cow, which had the insurance company’s metal tag, had to be produced. So he brought it and asked for his insurance money. I almost fainted on seeing a blood-dripping severed ear and that too right in the morning. The issue was resolved but even today I remember the bloodied ear of the cow dangling in front of my face.
On another occasion the wife of a naval officer stormed into the office and demanded that the locker of her husband be opened — she produced the key of the locker, but as the locker was in her husband’s name, I told her that unless she got a mandate from him it would not be possible for the bank to permit her to open the locker. She threatened me and said that her husband was having an affair with another woman and he had taken all her jewellery and kept in the locker to be given to his paramour. It was her gold and she had a right to take it back. She created quite a scene and even insinuated that I was aiding and abetting her husband in his extramarital affair. Of course she was pacified by others and led away.
Once, I was the only person manning the evening counter of a city branch when a woman walked in at about 6.30 pm to encash a cheque. It was getting dark and the heavens decided to open its floodgates. On opening the account ledger I found this legend written in red: ‘party reported deceased’. The woman in front of me claimed to be the account holder and demanded the money. The law prohibited honouring a cheque of a deceased customer. The heavy rains outside, accompanied by strong winds, made me a little scared. I was wondering whether the person in front of me was of this world or beyond. How could I ask “are you alive madam?” Trusting my eyes I paid the amount. The mystery was solved the next day; the clerk who had made the remark had made it on the wrong account — it pertained to the next account!
I sanctioned a loan to a wholesale vegetable seller of the local market. I forgot about it until a few months later, he came to the branch with a huge basket of lemons. I was visibly embarrassed and I was wondering what I would do with the hundreds of lemons. He forced me to accept it saying that he had taken up the wholesale business of lemons and this was possible because of the loan I had sanctioned. I distributed the lemons to all the staff but still I was left with quite a lot. For the next month my diet consisted to a large extent of only lemon rice, lemon pickle, lemon juice and dishes laced heavily with lemon juice.
It is wonderful experiences like these that make one understand life in a different perspective. It helps in understanding people in a different light and broadening one’s perception.