The end of 1990s was not very good for me. As a professional bureaucrat, I did continue to work with the same passion and the outcomes were also extremely satisfying.
However, I did have personal hardships during this period.
I had to live away from family including two small children. While working for the Narmada project, I spent almost a year in Vadodara alone in a guest house;
To make matters worse, my father passed away in December 1999. I felt a huge void and vacuum in my life;
Those were truly turbulent and challenging years for me and my family.
Equally challenging were the official tasks which I was performing during this time: Relief & Rehabilitation of tribal displaced due to Narmada project and of the lives devastated by the earthquake of 2001.
Perhaps, this was the way God wanted to teach me patience and perseverance by showing much worse situations in which many people live.
All of a sudden, on October 8th, 2001, I was appointed as Secretary to the new CM of Gujarat – Shree Narendra Modi. After my appointment, I asked him several times as to what the reason for such an honor was. I never got any answer. I must mention that I gradually forgot the void and vacuum I had been feeling for so long, as there was never any time for it.
Working with Shree Narendra Modi closely for the last twenty years, I must have certainly made a number of mistakes; but such is his grace that he has never expressed any angst or disappointment. He always sees the good in his team which motivates everyone around him to work hard and remain positive in life.
It is remarkable that after all these years, Shree Narendra Modi is not known to have lost his temper at even a single employee of his offices, including senior officers and support staff.
I remember many occasions when he teared up out of compassion for the needy, the poor and the weak. He is though, very good at hiding the vulnerable part of him.
We worked an average of 16 hours a day and yet felt energetic and motivated. I often told my colleagues that fatigue comes from mental stress; not physical. Shree Narendra Modi’s version is that fatigue comes from the worry and anxiety of not completing a task. If you are in the habit of completing each task on time; there will be no fatigue.
At State (Secretariat) level, there were two postings:
Every moment of these twenty years with Shree Narendra Modi has been a new learning experience. Many people ask me “are you not tired?” My answer always is that his energy, dedication, and ingenuity are infectious. More importantly, while working with him, I have realized the fundamental and irreplaceable importance of hard work, time-management, technology along with righteousness, sincerity, and integrity. My life and career have revealed to me that we are indeed only facilitators in the scheme of almighty.
It is very difficult to describe and elaborate every manner in which Shree Narendra Modi influences and inspires me and my work. I will however reproduce a verse in the words of सुरूर बाराबंकवी which I had used somewhere in 2004/05, while compeering one of the programs organized by him at CM House, Gujarat.
जिनसे मिलकर ज़िंदगी से इश्क़ हो जाए वो लोग, आपने शायद न देखे हों मगर ऐसे भी हैं II
I pray for Shree Narendra Modi’s Long & Healthy Life and his Continued Mentorship.