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Rain, rain go away, come again

July 28, 2005 17:31 IST
In spite of large areas of the city being submerged, it was business as usual for Mumbai Inc on Tuesday and Wednesday. Marooned in their offices, managers took advantage of the extra hours to clear their in-trays and catch up with long pending work.

Executives at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, stranded in their Parel office, decided to clear up their back-log and emails. "That's something they would not normally be able to do on an ordinary working day," said Shikha Sharma, managing director & CEO ICICI Prudential Life.

Terrible Tuesday: Mumbai copes with a calamity

Habil Khorakiwala, chairman and managing director of Wockhardt, had some foreign visitors on Tuesday. Though their stay was arranged at Hyatt Regency, the guests had to stay back at the corporate guest house at the office premises due to the rains.

"However, this provided us with some extra time to have informal discussions beyond the fixed agenda", said Khorakiwala.

The IDBI Bank brass, including the chairman, was in the office till late at night to finalise the 2005-06 first quarter results. IDBI was to hold a board meeting today to consider the results, but had to postpone it to Monday.

YES Bank managing director Rana Kapoor, after a long time, found time to clear his desk of all pending papers, although he had to postpone the bank's board meeting scheduled today for considering Q1 results as two key board members were not in a position to attend the meeting.

Of course, it was far from being all work and no play for Mumbai's managers. Hindustan Lever had an impromptu party of sorts for its 150-170 employees stranded at the office.

The terrace garden turned out to be the ultimate venue, with even the manager's rooms, conference halls etc being opened up for use. Essentials like mattresses and bedsheets were borrowed from the houses of the managerial staff.

The company's own personal care products were used to the fullest. There was much music, games, dance and bonhomie, with even the senior-level management letting their hair down.

Ogilvy & Mather Chairman Piyush Pandey was in Bangalore Tuesday night, but kept in touch with his 200-odd colleagues who were stranded in the agency's Parel office. Chief Operating Officer SN Rane played a fantastic host to them and kept the Mumbai spirit alive, Pandey said.

A senior executive with Reliance Mutual Fund said, "Most of the staff stayed back and played a long session of antakshari. Around 40-50 employees saw the film Swadesh in our conference room. We made sure all the colleagues who stayed back had a good time in the office".

And, although Managing Director KV Kamath was unable to attend a party thrown by ICICI Bank at the Taj for CEOs, bankers and top representatives of Temasek, bankers like Gunit Chadha of Deutsche Bank, Sanjeev Bhasin of Rabo and Romesh Sobti of ABN Amro Bank braved the rain and the floods to go to the party. Several employees preferred to go for late night movies rather than trudge home.

Many CEOs and top executives spent the time ensuring their employees' welfare. Dena Bank chairman M V Nair visited several affected branches in south Mumbai.

Ranjit Shahani, vice-chairman and managing director, Novartis India, said, "We were more concerned about the staffers, especially ladies, who had to commute to distant places. We could, however, organise transport and other arrangements to make them comfortable."

Ajay Piramal, chairman and managing director, Nicholas Piramal, took a walk down to the company's canteen for a chat with his employees.

Terrible Tuesday: Mumbai copes with a calamity

BS Bureau in Mumbai