T put me in charge of credit for Pakistan as well.
This meant that any credit proposal from Pakistan would reach me first, and I would have to evaluate it and recommend to T whether the proposal should be approved or not.
On the second day after becoming responsible for Pakistan’s credit, I received a proposal from Karachi for a loan to a cement company.
I considered the proposal very carefully and decided that we should not be lending to this company. Hence, I wrote “Declined” on it and sent the proposal to T with a sticker saying “Declined – FYI (for your information)”.
Fifteen minutes later T charged into my cabin.
“This loan for the cement company,” he screamed, “you have declined it?”
All 6’3” and 140kgs of T was in my cabin, screaming at me, with all my staff listening.
“Yes, I have declined it,” I said.
“Why ???” T howled.
For a split second two thoughts ran through my mind:
- Does T want to approve this loan?
- Should I say “Sorry, maybe it should be approved. Let me look at it again”?
I rejected these thoughts.
My heart said: To hell with what T may think or want. This is not good credit. I am not going to sign it.
So, I said “I have declined it because (enumerating the reasons)”.
T shouted “Exactly!! This is a crappy proposal. Tell Karachi not to send such rubbish again”.
Had I not stood my ground, on the basis of my belief, T would have devoured me.
Tattlers and T
T summoned me to his office one morning and said:
“Have you heard? It seems Seema had been sleeping with Kevin.”
To explain, Seema was an Indian divorcee lady working in the credit card department, and Kevin had been the head of the credit card department until he was, very recently, terminated by T.
“Really?” I asked. “Where did you get to hear of this?”
“Akhtar (Pakistani), Bassam (Lebanese) and Chandra (Indian) have told me this,” T said.
These three people (A, B and C) were colleagues of Seema in the credit card department.
I remarked that all this was a lot of nonsense, and that we should not be paying any attention to these kinds of allegations.
“No, No, my lad,” T said, “just see what I do”.
He summoned Seema to his office.
In my presence T told her “I hear that you had been sleeping with Kevin”.
Seema was shocked.
“How can you say this to me?” she asked.
“A, B and C have told me that you were sleeping with Kevin”.
“How can they say this?”
T summoned A, B and C to his office.
He lined them up next to the chair in which Seema was sitting.
He asked them “Didn’t you tell me that Seema had been sleeping with Kevin?”
A, B and C didn’t know what to say and, indeed, where to look.
T continued to hound them until all three admitted that:
- they had made the allegation
- they had no evidence
Finally, possibly tired of yelling, T sent A, B and C, plus Seema back to their cubicles in the credit card department where they sat next to one another.
After they had left, I asked T why he had carried out this exercise.
T replied “I have taught them a lesson, my boy. I don’t like idle gossip and weak allegations”.
The lesson bit was all very fine, I thought.
BUT, what about Seema? How would she be feeling working alongside A, B and C?
As it turned out, Seema carried on perfectly well. In fact, in due course she managed to arrange for the termination of A and C, thereby getting her revenge. Only B, with his Lebanese survival skills, retained his job.
Maybe what A, B and C had alleged was true! Who will ever know?
Postscript: After all four had left, T mused “What did Kevin see in her? Her legs are so thin.”
(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.)