My fellow training mate was Javed Akhtar.

We had some things in common. We came from Lahore, this was our first job and we were to work at Multan. Though we were trained together but JA joined later. I started working on 14 April 1975 and JA joined on 28 April 1975. So I claim seniority of 14 days.

Javed Akhtar is a regular guy. He does everything with discipline. You will not see him going out of line.

I am sure he never had to pay fine on Motorway due to overspeeding.

He is hard working, consistent, persistent, practical and focused. He is trustable, affable, supportive and always ready to do good. Javed asked me if we could share a rented space in Multan; it would be cost effective. I agreed and found a small portion of a house in the Old Multan City before he arrived at Multan.

That we were very different persons, in many ways contrasting; we both knew quickly. JA has always advised me, cajoled me, admonished me (yes, he can) and supported me in numerous ways. I left Reko after about 3 months, but JA continued for over two years.

Javed later joined SmithKline & French (SK&F) which became SmithKline Beecham (SB) and finally (till now, who knows the future) e-merged as Glaxo SmithKline (GSK). Javed shifted from sales to training and stayed there till he took voluntary retirement few years back. He is now spending time as independent trainer, coach and mentor. He is a highly regarded trainer for selling skills, sales management, personal development, and communication.

He is running a program for students by the name of ‘Rising Stars’. The program has done many batches (seasons, as they call) and is hugely popular. I read students comments on Rising Stars FB page and I feel proud and happy for Javed.

Javed’s work is practical, meaningful, relevant and valuable. This is what makes him popular and emotionally connected to his audience.

I have picked up many good things from JA over the years. I have a feeling he did not learn much from me. Or maybe he learned Not-To-Do things from me.

I claim a life time friendship with Javed Akhtar. We see each other irregularly but never feel any gap. We quickly catch up and keep moving. Javed is a dear friend and a person worth knowing.

We started exactly the same way, but then our paths changed quickly. Beginning August 1975, S H Javed of Hoechst informed that I had been selected and I must go to Karachi immediately to join the training batch which had already started.

Our boss in Multan was our manager Hafeez Mallick; a Punjabi-loving, jovial, caring person. He treated us with kindness. I went to him and told him about this development. Magnanimous as he was, he said it would be good for my career and I must go. Courtesy and kindness was hallmark of managers in those days and most managers were like that. Of course, you always have people up and down the scale. Everyone worked hard and supported each other, even if competing commercially.

I resigned from Reko and took a train to go to Karachi. It was third week of August 1975 and training was to be for six weeks. I reached Karachi in the afternoon and went straight to PNSC building on MT Khan road where Hoechst head office was located.

When I entered the training room, I found a surprise……

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