DHARWAD: In his 35-year-long career, Dharwad-based bank employee Ashok Babar hasn’t taken a single day’s leave. When he retired on Tuesday (July 31), he was brimming with pride for he had added a feather in his cap with his remarkable achievement. In these 35 years, marriages, the death of his parents and brothers, accidents, childbirths — nothing could stop him from going to work. When Babar joined the bank, he only had one aim - to create a record by not taking a single day leave. And on the last day of work, he had achieved it - a remarkable service - which will be remembered forever by his colleagues.
Babar, a resident of Gulaganji Koppa area in Dharwad, joined Vijaya Bank Broadway Road branch in Hubballi in 1983 (June) as office attendant. In 1984, he was transferred to Dharwad Saraswatpur branch and later in 2011, he was transferred to the Vijaya Bank near CBT where he retired. Babar recalled his initial days of struggle. When he was working in the Hubballi branch, a transport strike was called in Dharwad. Not wanting to miss work, Babar pedalled to the bank branch. In fact, many who stay in Hubballi stayed away from work that day, Babar said.
Babar’s marriage is another interesting tale. To get married, he had only two conditions - he will not travel out of Hubballi for the wedding and the ceremony must be held on a Sunday! Finally, he married Bharati on a Sunday (April 24th, 1994). He has three children. In 1995, he was blessed with a daughter and another daughter in 1996 and a son in 1999. Since all the kids were born on weekdays during the daytime, he went to visit his wife and children only in the evening, after finishing work.
Babar’s father died on August 7, 1997. He was already in the office when he received the news. Though his manager insisted that he go home, he refused. During lunch break, he went home and paid his last tributes. The cremation was held in the evening. In 1998, when Ashok Babar’s mother and brother died, he made sure that his work was not affected.
Babar’s wife Bharati recalled the initial days of marriage and the ordeal she had to go through because of her husband’s ‘determination’. “When I was pregnant, I preferred to call an ambulance than my husband. I never demanded that he take me or the kids on a trip during vacations. Only recently, when there was a 2-day bank holiday, we went to Mysuru. Now that he has retired, it has given us immense joy”, she said.
His daughters Ranjana and Jayshree said, “We were only dependent on our mother. When we were in school, we used to feel bad about his decision. But gradually we understood the importance of his ambition.”
In 1990, he met with an accident while returning from work. Though the doctor advised him to take ten days bed rest as he had suffered head injuries, he went to office the next day. Though the higher authorities did not let him enter the office, he insisted on working. Recognising his dedication towards the job, the then District Surgeon R V Patil visited the bank and enquired about his health during the recovery period. Babar has received hundreds of awards and appreciation letters from across the state for his remarkable service.
Babar said, “I credit this achievement to my family. I believe in giving back to the nation and to the institute that have given me the job. Now I am planning a world tour with my family with the little savings I have made during my service. After the tour I am planning to render service to a bank voluntarily.”