“Friend to students, enemy to thieves”: IIMB’s Security Supervisor P G Saravanan
The stone-walled corridors of IIM Bangalore are supported by many pillars who dedicate their whole existence to the campus, toiling endlessly for its success. Security Supervisor P G Saravanan is one of them. Having dedicated more than three decades of his life to the campus, Mr Saravanan still possesses the same vigour and dedication towards the institute.
You have donned many roles within the campus over the years. How was your experience with IIMB?
I entered the gates of IIMB on 5th November, 1986 as a security guard. I then worked as a night canteen in-charge, was a part of the reception desk, and finally came back to the security department. I learnt a lot over the years, from the students, staff and faculty. The campus has supported me through good as well as bad times. At one time, I used to do everything in the campus – work, eat and sleep. Even today, I like to stay as long as I can on duty.
How has your relationship been with the students? Are there any alumni whom you recall fondly?
Yes, I have shared a cordial relationship with almost every batch of the institute, but the ‘91, ‘92 and ‘93 batches are especially close. During those times, the campus was quite far away from the city. The entire campus bonded over the frequent and prolonged power cuts, food problems and many other difficulties we faced. I remember almost everyone from those batches. The current IIMBAA president, (Saif) Qureishi Sahab had also been a really close friend.
You have also seen many directors and professors come and go. Is there any faculty who made a difference in your life?
Almost every individual within the institute has made a significant change to my life. All the directors, from Philip, then K.R.S. Murthy, M.R. Rao and Apte Sahab, have always been extremely supportive and caring. I also found extremely accomplished mentors in the CAO Brig. Ramaswamy and other senior officers, who taught me the most integral skill of my duties: discipline. The professors have always been friendly, which was indeed the reason that so many people rushed to help Prof Vaidyanathan after his accident.
You have given three decades of your life to the institute. How extensively has the institute contributed to your personality?
I come from a small village in Tamil Nadu, Puttavaripalli. Coming from a backward family, I never had high aspirations. Yet, IIMB taught me everything I know, giving me a chance to live a better life. I consider it my first job and duty. Life without IIMB is unimaginable for me. IIMB is my life; it is equivalent to my parents.
You have had cameo roles in the comedy-drama film “3 Idiots” (2009), which was shot on the IIMB campus. How was the experience of toggling the roles of the security head and an actor?
The director (Rajkumar Hirani) had met me during the initial days of the film’s shooting, and had praised me for my energy and determination as the security head, working tirelessly through day and night. Even Aamir Khan had a lot of respect and amiability towards me, frequently sitting and conversing with me. Based on my abilities, I was also offered a role within the film. The film crew was very disciplined and methodical, sticking exactly to the allotted times, making the bare minimum noise and ensuring the presence of zero garbage on their part. The experience of hosting the crew on the campus for the 75 days was indeed a unique experience.