Monday, March 20, 2023

Non-carbon dating

Found this gatepost a few days ago and I was wondering how old Mr. Neelakantan could possibly be. The first clue was the old name of the city is still very prominent on this, which means that we can fix the lower bound of his age at 47; the city was renamed in 1996, which means this would have been made at least 27 years ago. Even assuming that Mr. Neelakantan joined them as the Assistant Cashier fresh out of college, he would have been 20 that year, so it is simple enough to fix the lower bound. 

What about the other end? That gets a bit more complicated. We know that the Grindlay's Bank has a long history. It was established in 1828 as Leslie & Grindlay, was known as Grindlay, Christian & Matthews in 1839 before settling for Grindlay & Co for a long stretch between 1843 and 1924 when it became Grindlay & Co Ltd. In 1947, changed again to Grindlay's Bank Ltd. We shall let it wait there for a couple of minutes while we look to Calcutta of 1863 and the birth of the Calcutta City Banking Corporation. Look away for a few months, well, a couple of years; it is 1866 and the firm is now National Bank of India, headquartered in London and expanding out to China and East Africa. Cut to 1948 and the Grindlay's Bank Ltd is being acquired by the National Bank of India, which is over thrice as large as Grindlay's. 

It took another 11 years before the two entities merged their operations. With that, we can say that the upper bound could be figured by imagining the 20 year old Mr. Neelakantan being the first to join the newly minted National & Grindlay's Bank Ltd in 1959, that year. Which would make him 84 years old this year. But wait, I have one more clue to be used. The gatepost says "Madras 1" and I will assume this refers to the PIN code for George Town. The PIN codes were introduced throughout the country in 1972 (though there was some limited use of area codes earlier) and now I have Mr. Neelakantan pegged at being 71 years old!

Okay, I'm ignoring the "Lloyds Branch" bit there. I couldn't find any reference to a Lloyds Branch in Madras, but Grindlay's had a Lloyds Branch in Chowringhee, Calcutta. Mr. Neelakantan could have retired from there, which was why he had that on his gatepost...

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