My initial days were faced with some resistance. Being an accountant, the older employees questioned my dedication to the job, which came with its own set of challenges. I was fortunate enough to have the support of late N.J. Katgara, late A.J. Katgara and late V.R. Naik who encouraged me to take on the obstacles head-on.
Ritika Arora Bhola
16 October 1984 was the luckiest day of my life when I was selected as Accounts Executive by Magan Bihari Lal and finally by the late V.R. Naik. I had not heard of Jeena at that point, as my earlier experience was in manufacturing units. When I joined the organization, I was put in the air export division. My first role at the company involved interactions with various accounting heads along with billing activities across various departments. As I learnt the ropes, my responsibilities extended to interactions with airlines and clients to keep them up to date on flight details and schedules.
Initially, I learnt billing of air export, sea export, air, and sea import consolidation. It was an introduction to various account heads in freight forwarding organization. After billing, I used to call various airlines to take flight details to inform clients.
After one year, I was made accountant of the air exports department. My initial days were faced with some resistance. Being an accountant, the older employees questioned my dedication to the job, which came with its own set of challenges. I was fortunate enough to have the support of late N.J. Katgara, late A.J. Katgara and late V.R. Naik who encouraged me to take on the obstacles head-on. Late Naik taught me humanity, punctuality, and control of customer outstanding.
Cyrus, Sam and Homi were under training in 1984. They were in their early twenties at that time. In 1985, I was offered a job at Air France, but I could not leave Jeena. The attachment, and respect I had for Jeena was profound. I discussed my inhibitions with late V.R. Naik and he assured me that with my work ethic, I would have a bright future no matter where I went, however it was my decision to make. Now that I
look back, my decision to stay with Jeena was absolutely the right one. During my time, Jeena handled customs clearance of film sets for movies such as Guide, as well as clearance of kits and personal effects of the Indian cricket team.
I had a different relationship with each of the partners. Late N.J. Katgara and Late A.J. Katgara used to visit the Delhi Branch once in three months and never failed to ask me for an update about branch activities. Their eagerness to encourage me and their appreciation of my work, motivated me every time. Their ethics and integrity rubbed off on me during my entire journey with Jeena, and till this day, I consider myself fortunate to have worked with two generations of partners i.e., Late Nariman Katgara and Late Adi Katgara and thereafter in the 1990s with their sons, Cyrus, Sam and Homi Katgara.
Within six years, they took over all responsibilities and challenges and took Jeena to its present heights. The understanding between all partners is healthy and the decisions taken are unanimous. In 1995, I retired, but was not away from Jeena. Jeena’s reputation is such that staff do not feel like leaving but want to work till retirement. More than 30 per cent staff were working for 25 years and some up to even 40 years with Jeena.
To build a strong structure you need strong pillars and base. I learnt from Cyrus Katgara—how to take bold decisions, from Sam Katgara—how confidently you should speak and from Homi Katgara—I learnt punctuality and profit and loss analysis. I learnt overall from all three Brothers—business ethics, customer importance and communication. There were/are many pillars such as Sunderasan, Khushrow Major, Gayomard Driver, K.S.Desai, and Mehra. I see Jeena like a vast, endless ocean.
Jeena is a well-established organization and due to its business ethics and reputation, the airlines and customs respect and honour Jeena’s word implicitly. The same culture is carried forward from Late N.J. Katgara and Late A.J. Katgara till date due to which today I find the growth, popularity, goodwill, raised to different heights. They helped Indian government to bring vaccine during COVID period. Now they are handling import-export pharma. Today, Jeena is miles ahead of many freight forwarding and supply chain companies due to its excellent style of management.