Thursday, 25 July 2013

Branch Manager as Fire Fighter

Job profile of a branch manager involves several features which are not listed in the rule book. In between customers, clerical staff, officers & controlling bosses there are moments of pleasure & pain for the branch manager. Some of the odd jobs I did as BM may not qualify for inclusion in the  duty sheet.  Here is one.

It was a Saturday & I had packed & placed my bag in my spacecraft Maruti 800 provided by the bank. Expected time of departure: 1415 hrs, destination: Delhi. All set.

The branch I was heading had a currency chest also where four policemen were on 24 hrs duty. Most of the time they used to sit at the end of the hall. Besides this the branch had staff strength of approx 30 & it being a Saturday customers were present in good numbers.

At about 1315 hrs from the window of my cabin I noticed smoke emanating from main switch. It was fixed on a wooden board which was also having several switches, cut-outs, electric meter & changeover box of generator. It was a jumble of thick & thin hanging colourful electrical wires.

Sensing trouble, I rang the bell & asked the peon to check & switch off the lights if necessary. By the time he tried to see through the switches, a flame erupted. Before he could do anything about it, the flame burst into a fire ball with a big bang of a cracker. All switches, meter & MCBs on the wooden board were shattered & gone. Thick black smoke started bellowing with acrid smell of burning rubber spreading in the hall choking those who were near it.

Policemen continued their gossiping with a casual eye on the fire, most of the customers & staff stared at the fire, shouted for guard but nobody moved.

Guard, an officer & I rushed to open the fire extinguisher. None could.

A software engineer working in branch on contract opened it. Then we both picked up the bulky extinguisher & pointed the foamy nozzle to the burning board. This worked & fire started dimming before fire brigade arrived.

Weekend mood was spoiled & departure cancelled. Thereafter the fire which began to burn inside was put out by a glass of chilled beer.

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