This (final) narrative about T is not one I have witnessed at first hand, unlike all the preceding ones. Nevertheless, I have every reason to believe that it is true.
T got an offer that he just could not refuse, that of the chief executive (CEO) of a major bank in a neighbouring oil-rich country at twice the salary, which he was getting from our bank.
T resigned, much to the relief of all and sundry, and went to take up his new job.
He did try to persuade me to leave my job and join this bank at a senior position, working under him.
He even paid for me to make a trip to meet the bank’s directors and senior management. The pay was enticing.
Yes, I was tempted, but good sense prevailed.
More years of T were fraught with danger, as T’s ‘affection’ (as I had already found out) was fragile.
Besides, who knew how long T would last in his new job, and when he left, I would become an immediate target for the numerous people he would have offended.
So, I turned down T’s offer. It turned out to be a great decision.
T settled down in his new job. Quite soon he found that the bank did not have a disaster recovery system, i.e., a back-up computer system that would keep the bank going in case its main computer system collapsed for any reason.
T drew up a comprehensive plan for installing a suitable disaster recovery system.
Unfortunately, the bank’s board of directors turned down his proposal because it was too expensive.
With his newfound wealth, T could justify buying a boat to go sailing every weekend. It was a 26-footer with sleeping accommodation and cooking facilities, and he named the boat as ‘Braveheart’ after the then famous movie about William Wallace and the Scottish revolt against King Edward I of England.
On one such weekend, he had packed up office early on Thursday afternoon and sailed off in Braveheart.
In case you are wondering “why Thursday?”, in the Middle East Friday is the official holiday and many offices remained closed on Saturdays, though banks did operate with a skeleton staff.
Unbeknown to T, disaster struck.
On Thursday evening, a fire broke out in the bank’s computer center. It took several hours to douse the fire, but by then the entire system had been gutted and the bank was no longer operational.
T was blissfully unaware of this disaster because in those days there were no mobile phones and Braveheart did not have a radio.
He returned home late Saturday night and went to work the next morning.
The chairman of the bank was waiting for him to tell him about what had happened. Most of the directors were present, too.
T heard the sad story with equanimity, and nodded.
“I told you this might happen”, he said, “but you did not want to spend the money on a disaster recovery system.”
The chairman fumed and retorted “Where were you? Being the CEO, you should have been here!!”
“What would I have done?”, replied T, “I am not a fireman”.
One just did not get cheeky with the chairman, a scion of the Royal family.
The Terminator was fired on the spot, or terminated, should I say.
But T had been clever. He had built into his three-year contract a clause that said that he would be paid the entire salary for the rest of his contract period if the bank terminated him before his contract had been completed.
T collected his salary for two and a half years, sold his boat, returned to Scotland, bought a farmhouse, which he named (you guessed it) Braveheart, and lived happily ever after.
Yes, terminators do (eventually) get what they have doled out to others, but our man T did it in style.
(Deserting engineering after a year in a factory, Amitabha Banerjee did an MBA in the US and returned to India. Choosing work-to-live over live-to-work, he joined banking and worked for various banks in India and the Middle East. Post retirement, he returned to his hometown Kolkata and is now spending his golden years travelling the world (until Covid, that is), playing bridge, befriending Netflix & Prime Video and writing in his wife’s travel blog.)