Mumbai: As the mess secretary of hostel 4 on IIT-Bombay’s campus, Late Goa chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was very strict with students and even the mess workers in those days. His hostel mate and a close friend Bakul Desai, who was four years junior to him, remembers how he fined himself when his relative plucked a flower from the hostel compound one day.
Desai, who is based in Hyderabad, said that Parrikar was a stickler for accounts. “His accounts were very neat. He used to keep the mess accounts very clear and his only focus as the mess secretary was to bring down the bills for us,” said Desai.When Desai reached the IIT-B hostel for the first time in 1978, Parrikar saved him from being ragged by the seniors and that’s how they became friends.
At a recent event on IIT-Bombay, Parrikar remembered his days as the mess secretary of his hostel too. “Mess workers decided to go on a flash strike one day during our lunch time. Parrikar then decided to get into the kitchen with 40 of us and cooked meal for the entire hostel. It was the best cooked meal ever. The workers returned to their work immediately after that incident,” said Desai. He once even caught the mess workers stealing potatoes, onions and tomatoes from the mess by carrying them in their lungis. As the mess secretary his only focus then was to bring down the mess bills for us students, said Desai.
He led a simple life even after becoming the CM of Goa, said Desai. “He once narrated an incident to me about how he was stopped at the airport in 2002 as he did not carry his ticket. His ticket was with the protocol officer who was waiting at the ticket counter, but the security guard at the airport, refused to believe that he was a CM. The guard told his superiors that Parrikar got off a rickshaw and carried his own luggage,” said Desai, who runs his own firm in Hyderabad.
The late Goa CM completed his metallurgical engineering from the Powai institute in 1978. He stayed for two more years to complete his masters in the same subject, but did not complete it, said Desai.
Desai remained in touch with Parrikar till his last days. “We all have the fondest memories and respect of him. He was upright and very disciplined in his life,” said Desai.
Parikkar had attributed his political finesse to the manhandling skills he honed at IIT-Bombay, said a statement issued by the institute. He was felicitated as one of the distinguished alumni of the institute in 2014. The institute is planning to hold a condolence meeting for him soon.