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It was one of those times when I was taking dictation from our late Chairman, Sohrab P. Godrej, for his memoirs. While talking about his travels, he suddenly asked me: “Have you ever travelled anywhere out of Bombay??Before I could respond, he added: “Yeah, where do Parsis go? All they can think of is going to Valsad, Udvada, Navsari and Billimora!?These comments were typical of Sohrabji. When I told him that I had travelled extensively within India and named all the places I’d been to, happiness writ large on his face, he said: “In future, when you have the money, go abroad and see the world. It is worth it.?br>
Although I was merely taking dictation, I learnt a lot from Sohrabji ?the small but useful travel tips he’d generously give, the unheard-of places he would point out on the world map, the interesting anecdotes he would share, all with a twinkle in his eyes.

When our Company (excluding Godrej Appliances Division and Precision Equipment Division) gave us a maintenance break from 15th to 17th May, I went to Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Pratapgadh and Sherbaug. It was my second visit, after a gap of nearly 25 years. My mind raced back to the dictation I had taken from Sohrabji on 9 February, 2000 (barely three-and-a-half months before his sad demise) on his visit to Mahabaleshwar, excerpts of which are reproduced below.

“Mahabaleshwar, as the name suggests, is ‘Maha? meaning big and ‘Baleshwar? meaning Ishwar (God). It is ranked among the most attractive hill stations in the world.

“Some stupid reasons are given that since it was the British who created the hill stations, we should not have anything made by the British in post-independence India. If we want to destroy everything that the British gave us, then why are we carrying on with the railways, armed forces, judiciary? Why did we not destroy everything and become a miserable, more backward country? Even if they were ‘created?by the British, people would still like to enjoy a salubrious climate! Hill stations enhanced the status of our country.

Illegal Stalls
“The lovely drive between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar is completely marred by high-rise buildings, bridges on rivulets, introduction of city sports, elimination of beautiful strawberry and wild rose gardens ... One could squarely blame the Forest Department and the Government in general. Perhaps Raj Bhavan should be situated in the midst of those illegal stalls, which have marred the beauty of the lovely lake (referring to Veena Lake) used for boating more than swimming!

“Mahabaleshwar meant lovely walks and rides beyond the motorable roads. Although the roads were made and cars were allowed, I still recall nostalgically the Mahabaleshwar of yore without electric lines, plumbing, septic tanks ?I always objected to septic tanks.?br> Although I have not seen the age without electric lines and plumbing, it was still worth a visit. As soon as our luxury coach approached the Western Ghats towards Mahabaleshwar, I knew that I was breathing different air ? sweet and fresh. As the sun rose at 6.00 a.m., I admired the magnificent views of the deep valleys, the majestic forests, the wild flowers, the different species of twittering birds which are never seen or heard in Mumbai and, of course, the flat-topped summits covered with mist. Somehow, I felt the presence of the Divine Being.

I also felt a deep sense of gratitude to all those men and women (whom we call kamatis) who toil day and night to construct roads for tourists like us who would have otherwise had to come on horseback from different parts of the country to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Mahabaleshwar!

What amused me about this beautiful hill station were the names of some tourist attractions. Take, for instance, Monkey Point. The three monkeys ? see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil ?supposedly carved out by nature in a hill were left to the tourists?imagination. Tiger Spring was just a puddle of muddy water beneath the earth’s surface, which years ago was a watering hole for tigers. No guide could explain why sunset point in Mahabaleshwar is called Bombay Point. Visiting this Point was a joke. The approach to the Point had been commandeered by a Bollywood unit. One of the spot boys shouted to the tourists: “We don’t have Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda over here, it’s only Jimmy Shergill, a small actor. So please stop crowding the place and return!?The tourists shouted back: “Nobody is interested in your stupid film. We’ve come to see the sunset and not to admire Jimmy Shergill.?The unit members were left with no option but to allow the tourists to pass. However, it was a sad state of affairs. The terrain at Bombay Point was hilly and there was very little space, so it was not possible for all the tourists to stand and enjoy the sunset.

Sherbaug, a theme park, was lovely. Situated four miles from Panchgani, it is a bed of roses with a wide variety of other flowers, cacti, a waterfall, birds such as white pigeons, turkeys, swans and some rabbits. A wonderful exposure to nature.

The sad part of my trip was the commercialisation I came across in the name of tourism. A cup of tea that would normally cost Rs. 3 in a tea stall in Mumbai cost Rs. 8 in Mahabaleshwar. The numerous food and drinks stalls permitted inside the Pratapgadh Fort were a real shame. All around I saw people eating, eating and eating ?as if they lived to eat. I was shocked at the noise pollution at Table Land, Panchgani. One-third of the area was filled with parked two- and four-wheelers, food stalls, games ?a mini mela of sorts. It was best to be at the extreme end of the plateau away from the noise, to enjoy the cool breeze and the sunset. Needless to say, the pleasant weather was the best healer, the best stress-reliever. Back in Mumbai, I’m rejuvenated to sweat it out.

Rashna Ardesher


What Did You Do During Your Holidays?

It was business as usual! We had a Board of Directors meet on 15 and 16 May, which I had to attend. Went to work on 17 May to catch up with my pending work, especially the mail. However, I did manage to spend time with my family on the 18th. Shopped for provisions and then spent the day with them ?and that by itself was wonderful!

Anil G. Verma
Personnel & Administration Department


Challenges faced from time to time cause stress. It has become part of our life. But stress is not necessarily unhealthy. It is our response to stress and our ability to cope with it that can transform stress into positive or negative energy.

I thought shifting my residence in our Hillside colony during this welcome four-day break would deprive me of the rest and relaxation I badly needed. But I was mistaken. On the contrary, I found that this was the best way for me to relieve accumulated stress by allowing myself to react to change in the environment as a result of my shifting to a new house. And I’m surprised to find that this experience of moving house has been in fact a good relaxation.

I’ve also learnt that stress, if dealt with positively, is neither stressful nor distressing. I felt I succeeded in transforming stress from a pathological phenomenon to some sort of achievement.

Nariman Bacha
Personnel Administration


After hectic trips to dry Surat and hot Hyderabad, the morning of 15 May was a great relief. I woke up late, at around 8.00 a.m., and went straight to the Nagla forest block of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) along with my wife Anagha and five-month-old son, Vyom.

Nagla forest block is separated from SGNP by Vasai creek. The forest is particularly hilly, with mixed vegetation of evergreen and deciduous varieties like kusum, kokam, ficus, mango, arjuna, dhavda, ebony, acacia? On the creek side the forest is covered with mangroves. We were accompanied by the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Pakhare, an enthusiastic forest officer of the SGNP. The eight-kilometre drive by jeep was extremely bumpy but productive. On the way, we saw several feathered glories like flycatchers, bulbuls, orioles, woodpeckers, kingfishers, etc. Little Vyom was also appreciating the forest through wide open eyes. During our journey, Pakhare took us to a water point filled with mineral-rich groundwater. It is amazing to see such waterholes overflowing even in the hot days of mid-May. At the waterhole, we saw a Paradise Flycatcher, a sparkling white bird slightly bigger than a sparrow with a black crown and a foot-long white tail. What a beauty! After some more birding, Pakhare gave us the exciting news that tiger pug marks had been spotted in that forest. It was really welcome news because the tiger was visiting the area after almost 75 years. We then spent some time looking for more proof of the existence of the super cat, but found none. However, the mere excitement of being in tiger country is superior to watching the magnificent killing machine in an enclosed area.

We then visited the mangrove interpretation centre at Sasupada, a tribal hamlet on the creek. Since I had designed most of the displays of this centre some years back, I was quite excited to revisit the centre. After half an hour spent in the serene environment of the Sasupada mangroves, we headed back home.

This was the only day available for me to relax as the Annual Business Plan on 16th May and completion of the Clubhouse garden before Sunday, 18th May took up most of my time during the four-day vacation. Had these commitments not been there, I would have perhaps visited the Tadoba National Park, one of my favourite forests. However, the one-day trip to Nagla was a fascinating experience, enough to recharge the body and soul for another three months.

Vivek Kulkarni
Garden Department


I think we need a break from our routine life so that we can spend time with our loved ones by either staying at home or taking a short trip out of town. But this sort of leisure was not in store for me, since my wife, who is an employee of our Company’s Appliances Business, was working for all the three days.

I had a rather boring holiday. The first day of this short break passed without any boredom since I finished some of my personal work, which had been pending for quite some time. The remaining two days simply dragged since I had nothing much to do. I either browsed the Net and chatted with friends online or whiled away my time watching a movie. In short, I could not put these three days to material use. Had the Company’s policy been uniform for all its businesses, then I would have spent these three days with my family by taking a much-needed short trip out of Mumbai.

Rohinton D. Tampal
Corporate Finance & Treasury


Colourful hobby:
a painting by
R. Majoo

On 15 May, 2003 I went to Udvada for a day. Standing in front of the sacred fire gave me immense peace of mind. On the 16th and 17th, I pursued my hobby ?painting ?two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. When painting, I’m totally at peace. Dutifully, I helped my wife with some household work. Both evenings I went out with my family. I also read Gitananda Brahmachari’s The Dialogue Divine and Dramatic. The dialogue is between Lord Krishna and the heroic warrior Arjuna. The psychological conversion that Arjuna underwent at the battle of Kurukshetra, and Lord Krishna refuting all Arjuna’s arguments of affected pity and idealism, made very interesting reading. The 18th was my son Zubin’s birthday, and I spent quality time with him ?cycling, visiting a cyber caf? shopping and having dinner with my family.

R. Majoo
Chairman’s Office

Nowadays, people resort to a host of facilities like yoga, swimming and attending other de-stress programmes to help de-stress themselves.

But for me to de-stress? The very idea of being at home and not having to report to work as early as 7.00 a.m. is enough of a stress-buster. The three-day maintenance break given by the Company was a welcome break. While colleagues planned a trip out, I preferred to “chill out??an expression used by my kids ?at home. Besides, one could have done with the chilling part, what with the discomfiture caused by the high humidity.
I enjoyed entertaining my relatives and, after they left, I just caught up on my sleep. Evenings, being the cooler part of the day, found us venturing out for a drive or, generally, taking a breather.

I believe that all work and no rest causes stress. A short welcome break is adequate cause to de-stress ?so cheers to a short break, call it maintenance, de-stress, anything ?but give us a B-R-E-A-K.

Dianne D’Cruz
Corporate Services

It was great to get four days off ?off from the daily routine.

I had made elaborate plans right from cleaning the house to cooking new dishes and even going out of town! I went to Panchgani for one-and-a-half days. It was beautiful, not very cool, but a welcome relief from Mumbai’s hot weather. I also visited Table Point, which is a famous sightseeing spot in Panchgani. My first reaction was that it was really, really crowded, as if the whole of Mumbai was there that day to take a break from their hectic schedules.

I returned to Mumbai on Saturday. Did some cooking and cleaning on Sunday.

So, finally, the weekend was wonderful as I managed to do a little of everything and, most importantly, got my well-earned rest!

Hetal S. Iyer
Marketing Department, Furniture & Interiors Group

In my 25 years of service I had never taken leave or gone on holiday in the month of May. But this year the management gave us a pleasant surprise by announcing a maintenance break in May. I’m constructing a new house at my native place, Ambrad. Ambrad is situated in Sindhudurg District, Kudal Tehsil of Maharashtra. Because of the construction work going on, my presence over there was important. My children, too, were very happy at the thought of going to Ambrad as it would mean a short outing for them.

I’m happy that my children could enjoy the fresh, natural environment. They got to taste the local delicacies of the season such as mangos, jackfruits and cashew nuts. I, too, could complete all my housework. It was a totally different experience with my family.

Digambar Ganesh Parulekar
Paint Shop, Security Equipment Division