Miscellany

A FRIEND IN NEED!

Engr. S. A. Mansoor
Back in December 1970, I was sent by the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce, to attend a fully residential in depth management program in UK. It was held at Urwick Management Center(UMC); at Slough which is close to Cambridge University in UK. It had a huge compound with around 500 yards of the river Thames as part of one side boundary of the very large compound of UMC; where the regular Oxford- Cambridge boat race is held yearly! This was a residential course, with full board and living accommodation for well over two hundred trainees at a time! It had many faculties, covering all ares of industrial management. Teaching was provided by over fifty full-time teaching staff; and further backed by many internationally known speakers from many industries of Europe! from many renowned persons, considered as international authority in their field of industry, commerce and management!
The trainees were set in two men team; jointly living and working in the large residential combined; with two students in a room. Usually the weekends were also needed for the students to prepare reports and submit reports on many Mondays. These were all put together and on the Mondays time was allotted for the group to review, discuss and learn more from their weekend assignment. We worked very hard during the course and did our home-work after dinner was over by 7-30 in the evening.
However quite often the daily programmer, starting at 8,30am, continued till beyond 7 pm, on many occasions! This was possible; as except for a few local students who drove in and returned back in the evening. Howeve,r even the local students had their breakfast, lunch and dinner with us!
My teammate was Robin DeLano Mirlees; possibly as he had been in India, during the last World War with Japan we became room mates!! He was basically a ‘Laird, a Scottish ‘Lords’ are usually known as Robin to his acquaintances of which I was one! He owned huge properties in England, Scotland and Ireland, vineyards in France, and houses in Italy and other places in Western Europe! He had a huge house two storied house; on the boundary of Russel Square. The land of whole Russel Square; he had donated to the city of London for setting up a park for the children! His two storied house, of possibly over ten thousand square foot, where he lived alone! He had two cars and drivers; one a Rolls Royce, and a Bentley! HE also employed a cook, two drivers and a house maid and helper for cleaning and running his house; as he often visited his roperties in Europe He was a life-tine bachelor; and related to the British royal family!
Talking about India; he had visited all the big cities of per-partition India. In World War2; he was posted to the RAF base near Comilla; and despite the fact that he was a fighter pilot; because of his royal connection his commanding officer only permitted him for daylight patrol in and around Comilla and possibly Chandpur area!
When I returned back to Chittagong a few weeks before the Pakistan’s Military crackdown in the then East Pakistan; Robin then contacted the then British High Commissioner in Pakistan to have me and my wife and children to be flown out to London; all at his cost and expenses! Imagine my surprise to see the British official from their embassy in Dhaka as our family (wife and three children) to go with him to Dhaka and from there to London! He said that we were to lock our house and come with them! My wife and I thanked them but said we will stay in hour house! In my presence, The British High Commission’s official sternly told the Pakistani Army officer who accompanied them; that he will ensure that we came to no harm , if we stayed!
For this serious action to ensure our safety; I will never forget Robin, as long as I live!

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