What is the highest civilian honour in India?”, that was my father asking me in 1957 when I was studying in the third form or the eighth standard as they call it now. “IAS”, I replied and I saw my father turn away in utter disgust, disappointment and anger. He didn’t ask me anything further, nor did he say anything then, but that silence was too eloquent for me....
I retired in 2007. What follow in this book are my random reminiscences and recollections of what had happened to me in those forty years of mine in govt. service. I have written them down as they popped up in my mind and hence the chronological disorder of the events narrated. I have tried to tell them as they had happened, unembellished and just as I remembered them, with neither malice nor apologies. I know I might have sounded rather harsh in my depiction of a personality or two. They were ‘memories of those worser hours’ still gnawing at me after all these years. If I didn’t include them here, I would have been guilty of being dishonest to myself and that would have been sheer sacrilege, for, honesty was one quality that my parents had tried hardest to instil in me and insisted on....
Acknowledgement —Pgs. 7
Foreword —Pgs. 9
Prologue —Pgs. 11
1. From the Scratch... Almost —Pgs. 13
2. Back to Basics —Pgs. 23
3. Life’s Like That... Even Official!! —Pgs. 30
4. By the Skin of My Teeth... Thanks to My Friends Indeed —Pgs. 41
5. One for the Road... and the Rail Too! —Pgs. 44
6. The Tennis Racket —Pgs. 61
7. Looking Back...In Nostalgia, with no Rancour —Pgs. 66
8. Gone with the Wind... Almost! —Pgs. 76
9. A Slip ‘Twixt, the Cup and the Lip-Literally —Pgs. 89
10. Fitting Finale —Pgs. 93
11. The Booby Trap? —Pgs. 102
12. Neither Anglo Nor French: ‘The Anglo-French’ —Pgs. 110
13. Mid Summer Days’ Nightmares —Pgs. 128
14. All’s Well That...! —Pgs. 138
15. How Innocent... How Graceful! —Pgs. 142
16. No Joke... Nonsense?... No —Pgs. 149
17. Defence Production... At Last! —Pgs. 162
18. The Icing on the Cake —Pgs. 176
Epilogue —Pgs. 202
PM Nair (Parameswaran Madhavan Nair) was born on 18 October 1944 at Edappally in Kerala. After passing the MA (Economics) course in the first class from the University of Kerala in 1966, he appeared in the All India Civil Services Examination and joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1967. Allotted to the Union Territories cadre, Nair had opportunity to serve in various capacities in various parts of the country. He was Chief Secretary to the Government of Pondicherry and later to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh too. Also served as Secretary to the Government of India, in the Department of Defence Production, and also in the Union Ministry Non-conventional Energy Sources.Nair is married to Chandralekha and they have two sons: Raajesh and Raakesh and three grandsons.
PM Nair is the author of the best seller ‘THE KALAM EFFECT’ wherein he describes his experiences of working at Rashtrapati Bhavan for five years as Secretary to Dr Kalam when he was the President of India.