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Memoire

Adieu to (S T) Parikh saheb

Shri S T (Shrish Trilokchandra) Parikh’s long, live; vigil came to an end on 31st July 2015. His own fairly chronic illness, his wife (Surkhabhabhi)’s critical ill-health and her parting the long company last year also did not affect his ever so equanimous, take-each-event-of-the-life-as-it-happens approach to his life.

Whenever I met or talked to him in last three / four years, this was one more facet of his personality that I did observe. In fact it is a plus to many qualities of his personality that I would reel off. When I talked to him last week and promised to meet soon enough, his tone and tenor were, as-ever, so balanced – without any rancor – and pleasant enough. In the hindsight now, I so much regret that I took his so strongly positive attitude towards life as as-is-usual-well signal and not took up my inner urge to visit him there and then.

In fact, I now so clearly recollect that even during our period together at Gujarat Steel Tubes (1973 to 1979), he had never complained of things that he would be involved with, things that no one in the organization would (or could handle), things that would keep life not smooth for even a short period. He would approach all such unexpected trouble-monger events with his, as-usual, cool and calm analytical approach, observe the event and the happenings under – or behind – such events minutely and formulate a decision objectively. Most of the decisions would appear to be out-of-box ones to the others. This invariably called for a great amount of convincing to all, but he would approach each discussion with same vigor and meticulousness, without any trace of exasperation, or for that matter, even frustration, which any other human being, in the similar circumstances, would (sometimes) feel.

For me, personally, the loss is quite profound. That he was one single person who made me what I professionally am can be called THE understatement of my life. When I reflect, I can so vividly see how painstaking and loving he was in those formative years of mine at Gujarat Steel Tubes.

He would give me a set of figures of allocation of steel and ask to me to tabulate them. Initially, I would invariably make some error in my totaling up. He would very gently show those mistakes while explaining the pattern of allocation among the different steel tube manufacturers as well its implications for GST in particular and the Steel Tube Industry in general. It was his way of directing me to take care of very small details while giving me the benefit of his expertise in the macro analysis of the Steel Industry.

For every new task that he would choose to entrust me, he would make sure that I certainly knew of the unspoken backing of his position in the company but also subtly made sure to the concerned outside world also would know it too that I carried his confidence, and hence his authority.

He chose to invest his confidence in me, and then went all the way. I feel happy that I have been able to repay his efforts, to some degree, in turn by helping careers of several of my colleagues.

I can fill millions of bytes to recollect such seemingly very insignificant, but so ever vital events that helped build the foundation of my career.

He was a natural network builder. This was one quality of his that just did not permeate through the filters of my own personality. Almost all these years, it was, invariably, he who would call me up at fairly regular interval, even when I inveterately failed to take the next call first.

He was always a low-key player, never played his own drum and hardly cared whether someone would take cognizance of his contribution(s).

Well everything that begins has to end. So does a great life that may never get the due that so much was deserved, in so many words. But, Parikh saheb always took such things in his stride, and still never missed a beat in the rhythm of his life.

Categories
Memoire

‘S T Parikh Saheb’s Family Celebrates His Turning 75

The occasion was momentous – certainly because both ‘Parikh Saheb’ and Surekhabhabhi have fought back very critical illnesses in the last couple of years; because they have maintained same conviviality, grace and equanimity, and certainly because we had had opportunity to meet many of Gujarat Steel Tubes (GST) colleagues.

When I joined GST (1973), he had already made his place in the (India’s the then) steel tube industry’s steel procurement space. He had laid foundation for meeting demands of the raw materials that GST ‘s major capacity addition was poised to need by 1974-75 period., within 5 years of taking over this role – from a core civial engineer’s mantle that he donned previously.

Shri ST Parikh was my mentor in the truest sense of mentorship, when management lexicon had not ‘known’ the concept of mentoring. He not only made possible all the opportunities for me to learn the ropes , but also showed several opportunities of new areas of learning in that short period of six years. He also had foresight to identify talent in the organization which was not fully used by their existing jobs. He drafted such persons in different capacities under his umbrella and paved way for their growth and provided the organization the much needed depth of expertise in an area (steel procurement) which he could have continued to operate as his ole domain. He never hesitated in training this team in all possible tricks of the trade. He was laying the foundation of of building a team in area which could have merrily remained his one-man-playground.

Moreover, he was always ready to extend helping hand to the weaker players of the industry without affecting the interests of GST.  This showed his skills of balancing two totally divergent activities. This, also, was building up of wide area network of those days.

He knew which relationships to build and ensured that once built, the relationship did not whither out, as long as he so desired. It should be no one’s surprise that all these bridges that he assiduously built have kept serving him even now.

And the bonus of attending today’s function – we met Apoorvabhai (Shah) and Karunaben, Pradip Desai, K M Shah, M N Shah, Manibhai Patel, Jyotindra Buch and KP Shah, after a good 30 years!