Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s five-time Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not only the longest-serving Chief Minister of the State but also one of the longest-serving chief ministers of any Indian state. The erudite literary is also the author of three best-selling books. Born to legendary Biju Patnaik, Naveen celebrates his 75th birthday today.
And one man who has seen and worked closely with Naveen for the past many years is his private secretary VK Pandian. On the former’s birthday, Pandian shared a very interesting anecdote. Here it is:
Toothaches are perhaps among the most painful aches and then they have the tendency to come unannounced. A couple of years ago, one morning around 9 am, I got a call from Naveen Niwas saying that CM had a toothache and would like to visit Capital Hospital for Root Canal Treatment (RCT). I tied up everything and he was to be there at 10.30 am. Given that Sir likes to maximise his work, the day’s calendar was chockablock as usual. As per the prefixed programme, there was a review meeting at 11.30 am in the CM Conference Hall, which I planned to postpone as also the evening appointments.
I reached office and began changing the prefixed schedule, telling myself that one would certainly need at least a day’s rest after an RCT. I did recall with a smile how I had bunked college for two days after RCT😃 Just then, my happy reverie was broken by a message: CM finished the RCT and left Capital Hospital for the Secretariat! (Lokseva Bhawan now).
I was shocked, how can one attend office directly from the dentist’s chair?! I swiftly recalled my pain and the swollen mouth after the RCT when I was just 20 ……Still, in a daze of shock and awe, I got a call from CM Sir telling me that we were to go ahead with the meeting at 11.30 as per the day’s schedule.
I then reorganised the postponed meeting and CM Sir as usual took the review meeting for more than an hour…
After the meeting, I asked him, “Sir, you could have rested this morning, especially after RCT and the toothache.”
He said simply, “I can bear the pain so why to waste time. There may be someone whose pain is much more serious and requires this time of ours.”
“Work is the best pain killer, Mr Pandian,” he said and laughed.
All of us were silenced by this novel painkiller, meanwhile, CM walked away with his characteristic smile.
Many wishes are pouring from all over the nation for Naveen Patnaik, but the CM has decided against any celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he urged people to help the impoverished and donate blood and plasma to the needy to mark his birthday instead of any kind of celebrations.