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Rendezvous with the Governor of Uttarakhand

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During the course of my long career, I must have attended hundreds of meetings with prominent dignitaries. Only a very few of them left any deep impressions. Now at this stage in life, I prefer to meet and write about common people with uncommon stories. But my one-to-one interaction with none other than the Governor of Uttarakhand, Lt General Gurmit Singh (Retd) in his office earlier this week, has definitely left an indelible impression on me.
It was my first visit to the Raj Bhawan. The security and staff were polite. Since I had reached a little early, nice elaichi chai and jeera biscuits were served in the waiting room, which I regrettably could not enjoy fully as I was ushered into his office sooner than expected.
What impressed me most was the humility and warmth of the Governor. He patiently heard my rather long background. I had no agenda for the meeting except to meet someone in such a high position, who combines qualities of  exceptional bravery and courage on the one hand and the dynamism to promote the development of a new state and its people on the other. A close friend who claims to be my fan for some reason, had arranged my meeting with the Governor, whose fan I had become. Ever since my recent relocation to Dehradun, I had been following the good work and people- friendly nature of our Governor in a variety of fields.
I had read that he had participated in numerous talks regarding border issues with China (eight times) and visited Beijing, Shanghai and many cities. He had also researched on India-China border issues for two years. So I used the opportunity to present him my first book, a memoir on my long China innings. He flipped through the book and shared several interesting stories of his China visits. We discussed our perspectives on China, which had many things in common.
Another topic of common discussion was the North-east India where he had served. I had also started my career way back from the north-east. I grew up in Chandigarh and he belongs to Amritsar. Incidentally, we also share the same year of birth.
From a formal meeting, it became an informal interaction. And the credit for this goes to the Governor. He makes you feel comfortable and tries to understand and appreciate your strengths. For some time, I forgot that I was in conversation with the Governor of Uttarakhand. We talked about Uttarakhand (where I belong to), Badrinath temple (I being the eldest grandson of ex-Rawal of Badrinath who did the puja for 22 years) and how Dehradun had developed in recent times.
Since I had worked for ONGC for over two decades, he was full of admiration for the company’s contribution to the people of Uttarakhand. He felt that ONGC had not received adequate appreciation for its contribution and suggested to me to write a book on that aspect.
I am thankful to the Governor for his time and encouragement. He is indeed an embodiment of simplicity, compassion, patriotism and above all a God-fearing person. We are fortunate to have him at the helm of affairs in Uttarakhand.
Alok Joshi is an HR Advisor, corporate trainer, motivational speaker, freelance writer and author of two books.