I was undergoing my probation period in one of the branches at Bhopal. One of my batchmates, Pushpa was also posted thereat. As Probationary Officers, we had to learn the basics of banking as clerks. So we used to move from one desk to another.
In those days, Day Book and GL (General Ledger) had to be written by hand. Day Book is an account book in which a day’s transactions are entered and tallied for transfer to the GL. It used to be a gigantic task normally assigned to a senior clerk.
As a part of training schedule, I was also assigned this job. I really enjoyed writing DB and GL. One day after writing, I was doing some other work at my desk in the evening, when one of the senior officers, Mr Balwant, standing over a counter, was checking my work. He asked someone standing nearby,
“Who has written DB and GL?”
He whispered my name, and then said, “New P.O.”
Mr Balwant was a ranker, and disliked the breed of POs. He uttered, “He has a very good handwriting. He should have been a clerk.”
I was listening to this conversation silently from a distance. I couldn’t control myself. I countered him whether a man with a good handwriting is entitled to a post of clerk only, ignoring all other qualities. He didn’t know I was listening. He remained tight lipped.
But a cold war had begun thereafter. Mr Balwant started pinpointing even minor mistakes in our works. One day he was after Pushpa, “You don’t know even this. Do your work diligently, madam.”
I knew he was not in the habit of reading new circular instructions of the bank. So I immediately pointed out to him, “But recent circular instruction says otherwise. Have you not read it, sir?”
My bluff worked and he got defensive. Pushpa was a little surprised at my sudden retort and thanked me for saving her from the ignominy of that moment. From then on, we were a good team during our stay of six months at that branch with a clear vision that in this case, offence is the best defence.