Those days cheques deposited in banks were cleared through two clearing houses; Delhi Clearing House Chandni Chowk which was managed by SBI & New Delhi Clearing House Parliament Street managed by RBI. 40 odd banks were members of the House. Of these SBI used to have largest number of cheques for delivery & receipt & PNB was next. A few firangi banks like Citi, Amex, Tokyo etc were single branch banks & their number of cheques was very small but amount substantial.
For every trip to House we were paid Rs 5 as conveyance charges. On the other hand firangi banks paid 30 to 40 to their reps though all banks are situated on Parliament Street within 2 kms. This led to heart burns! After persistent complaining, coercing through union & hard bargaining it was raised to a princely sum of Rs 7.
Similarly if the House did not get ‘Tallied’ till 1 o’clock then you were entitled to Rs. 10 as food charges. Firangi banks paid Rs 50 which caused indigestion!
The House had rules & protocol. New reps’ had to organise tea/samosa at the time of joining & those getting married or blessed with child to distribute sweets usually baloo-shahi from subsidised canteen. In turn farewell was on the house.
Another strict rule was that whosoever delayed the tallying of House gets penalised by footing the bill of tea/samosa for all. For avoiding such penalties you had to be sharp & accurate in sums orally. The House Sheet had two columns of receipt & delivery with 40 rows of banks. Figures ran into crores of rupees & paise. Net difference of cheques receipt & delivery had to be tallied with RBI ledger. This was done mostly orally as few machines were available. And when tallied there will be shouts of ‘Tallieeeed!’ & all reps would rush out. Everybody wanted to finish up this process by 11.30 & quit.
The House was a male bastion as entire crew was male. One fine morning male egos got shattered as a lady officer from Syndicate bank made an appearance in the House. There were shouts of approval & disapproval, ‘Intro please’, ‘Paaaarty’ ‘Kahan se aa gai’ ‘married nai lagti’ ‘Deccan Queen’ etc. & the work got stalled. Chairman of the house brought some order & work started 40 mins late. The lady officer was new to the bank, new to the clearing & new to even to New Delhi. She started the work a bit nervously but totalling of two columns of 40 each & all odd amounts was taking time in the noisy hall. Eventually with help from chairman himself accounts were settled just after 1o’clock & there was a loud declaration of ‘Tallieeeed’. She had to shell out for two parties – of introduction & of penalty.
But her intrusion had a positive effect in as much as the hall became quieter, use of loud curses & shouts got minimised
Ladies do have qualities!