Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bankers or Bonkers???





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First, the pictures: Check out the 5 Kings of Bhutan ( pin-ups, all!) proudly presented on a billboard at the airport.And those wonderful monk-musicians. But please, please, please look carefully at the picture with the rainbows - there are TWO of them! Let's call it a double whammy! And yes, there is a pot of gold at the end of both! And that lovely lady is the Socialite Supreme of Bhutan. Khendum rules! She was our host at a chic luncheon held in the Aman Kora, up in the hills. Great chef ( what amazing black cod fishcakes!). But otherwise, a lifeless location.
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I am getting ready to watch 'Ready' this evening, before heading for the airport.... first stop London, followed by Barcelona. May go missing from this space for a while... indulge me!
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This appeared in the Asian Age today....

There was a time, long, long ago, when my parents were naïve enough to go in search of a suitable boy for their youngest daughter (me!). First preference? A Saraswat Brahmin, IAS officer. Second? A Saraswat Brahmin doctor or engineer. There was no third option. Clearly, their misguided attempts failed totally. And they reconciled themselves to supporting a wicked, no-good beti who refused to ‘obey’, and insisted on cutting her own hair (the famous ‘Sadhana Fringe’- a rage at the time). But even in their desperation and through those long months of utter despair (“our daughter, the spinster”), one thing they were completely clear about : no bankers for their fourth child. I guess my parents were a whole lot smarter than I gave them credit for. I mean… look at what’s going on. From Rajat Gupta ( and wait till you hear juicier stories about this player – they are out there and about to go public), to DKS and now this Egyptian chap, Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, who was arrested after assaulting – you’ve guessed it – a maid, during his stay at the posh ‘Pierre’ in New York. Oofff! What’s with this ‘Bonk and be damned’ brigade ? Makes me sigh: Achcha bhai, parents ke objection mein kuch toh logic tha. One can’t say about the bad behaviour displayed by these banker types - it’s only about the money, honey. Money… especially other people’s money, is indeed super sexy. But a few of these horny toads obviously equate money with absolute power – the kind that says you can jump on the first female you find, and she should feel honoured to be “sexually abused, assaulted, touched, imprisoned and harassed” ( these are the charges against the man from Alexandria, who was the chairman of the Egyptian American Bank) by such a creature. There are several similar sleaze balls in Indian banking as well… and God help us if some of our five star hotel employees decide to squeal and tell all some day. Vat laga dengey!
For one, most people do not know the distinction between running a bank and owning one. Sure, both jobs require fiscal astuteness, but come on, guys, it’s just another job. Someone’s got to do it! For years and years, bankers were seen as big, fat bores. Especially by women. Dull, discreet and deadly. A good banker was meant to be seen but not heard. Talking about cracking deals and other equally crass issues was considered totally infra dig if not outright embarrassing. Good bankers stayed below the radar, were determinedly low profile and certainly didn’t party with the swish set ( yup, the same set they discreetly financed). Top bankers were shadowy figures who went about their wheeling and dealing with the stealth of ace robbers. It was a vital part of their job description to confuse everybody into thinking they were doing something impossibly profound and hard to fathom, when in fact, they were doing exactly what Shylock did – scalping everybody. Taking money from this one and passing it on to that one, while making a whopping commission for the bank. In the process, they also gave themselves humungous bonuses and generally lived like Kings. Often, far better than the impoverished maharajahs whose palaces they happily attached for non-payment of dues. As numbers ( and ambition) grew, our extra-smart , homegrown bankers were poached by Monster Banks worldwide. And those same fellows who used to sneak around corners clad in boring brown ( yes, brown!) polyester suits and synthetic striped ties, were suddenly all over the place dressed by Armani\ Tom Ford, posing and preening away on the covers of global business magazines, thinking they were Gordon Gekko himself. As a creed, ‘Greed is Good’ worked for most of them. Till a few were caught with their hands in the cookie jar, or worse, with their pants down.
The World Bankwallahs were in a league of their own. They formed the super elite Big Boys’ Club, and believed they actually held the keys of the kingdom in their hot little paws. These guys had the power! They knew it. They flaunted it. They used it. And still do. Nobody knows their asli agenda. The World Bank operates like an ancient secret society where the only thing that matters is the CYA mantra – Cover Your Ass. The people who work for the WB are like the commandos we saw in action during the Mumbai terror attacks. Their identities are not always revealed. Nor are their agendas. But we know they are out there ‘doing something important.” What that is, does not matter. It’s just one of those reassuring illusions we hang on to when most of us don’t know any better The WB gang has the best time of all. They live like royalty wherever they are posted. Their spouses specialize in swiping credit cards. Their kids enjoy amazing privileges and get into Ivy League schools effortlessly. Scandals associated with this bunch, are managed with minimum collateral damage. As lifestyles go, theirs are deluxe. Check this out - they jet around the globe traveling first class, attending power events, seated at the high table with Presidents and Prime Ministers. Errr, it is said they buy and sell countries, too.Their pampered partners talk in lofty terms about acquiring havelis in Rajasthan, the way others talk about buying a Hyundai. Why then would anybody be foolish enough to throw away such astonishing perks … all because of an uncontrollable pecker? It’s a question worth asking some of our smarty pants. Same fellows who have given Indian business and Indian banking such a bad name internationally.

One only hopes ( izzat ke vaastey) their bonking prowess remains far superior to their banking skills!

14 comments:

Sadiya Merchant said...

oh wow. frm wanting to b a chartered accountant i suddenly want to b a banker. d lifestyle seems pretty enviable....tho cant say d same fr d after effects of its loony misuse :)

ashwini said...

M'am,
Just like the ad goes -Bankistan ka wow! or will that be bonkistan? Hmmm....well...WoW anyways! Enjoy your trips!

Pooja Rathore said...

lovely pics thanks for sharing info and pics about Bhutan all i know is if someone asks me about Bhutan i will be able to say something about this place thanks to u .
apke post(bankers)mein bahut logic hai!

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

Money makes the maid go :)

goodluck said...

At that time, the prestige ones were IAS, doctor, engineer in that order. Other professions were not so well known. That was the reason every parent compelled their sons to become one and their daughters to marry one. It was and is a very middleclass thing.

Tsomo85 said...

"There was a time, long, long ago, when my parents were naïve enough to go in search of a suitable boy for their youngest daughter (me!). First preference? A Saraswat Brahmin, IAS officer. Second? A Saraswat Brahmin doctor or engineer. There was no third option. Clearly, their misguided attempts failed totally. And they reconciled themselves to supporting a wicked, no-good beti who refused to ‘obey’, and insisted on cutting her own hair (the famous ‘Sadhana Fringe’- a rage at the time). But even in their desperation and through those long months of utter despair (“our daughter, the spinster”), one thing they were completely clear about : no bankers for their fourth child. I guess my parents were a whole lot smarter than I gave them credit for."

Hahahahaha I can relate this entire paragraph!!!!! I completely feel yeah! "There was no 3rd option." LOVE IT!

PS. When you look @ deep deep down this mostly happens when both parents and kids, specially daughters has the combination of sincerity along with brain.

About bankers....never really adore one so to hell with whatever is going around with them. I even had weird impression of them when I went to my bank many moons ago. The lady banker was getting way too close with the other male banker. They were discussing some paper worrk and she is almost about to jump on his lap if possible. Weird!

Anil Kumar said...

I was expecting you to write something on Baba Ramdevs arrest last night. Your silence on yesterday nights drama and your FUNNY views abt Baba Ramdev on Times Now other day, tells me you are one of those who will be more comfortable to talk abt Rich people and how good they are and will try to bring someone like baba Ramdev down on technical ground. Do you really stand for cleansing the system (no one is perfect) or you believe in lip service attimes and when someone shows courage to do actually some good work then bring him down. I hope you are not on the payroll of that Italian MADAM in Delhi.

archie said...

The two rainbow picture actually shows a primary and a secondary rainbow. If one pays attention, it can be seen that the fainter rainbow on the right (secondary) has inverted colors from the brighter one at the left (primary). This happens when light scatters twice from the water droplets instead of just once as in the case of a more usual single rainbow.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Hahaha I read somewhere that the World bank walla did to the maid what the World Bank routinely does to poor and developing countries!

Now when is this Rajat Gupta thing breaking? Bechara Rajat :) If anything does break, bahot interesting hojeyga :)

I wonder often if it is a sense of invulnerability that comes from occupying a position of great power that allows these men to behave badly or is it that only reckless, risk taking men of great ambition achieve these positions of power and then they continue to behave badly as they have always done. Chicken and egg question na... bilkul parsi akoori ho jata hai!

Barcelona... yes! yes yes yes yes! Places don't get better than Barcelona! We would love to see your photos.

Leeman said...

WALL STREET bankers release music video "Greed Is Good" blaming consumers for the financial crisis -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoMpcz0S3hc

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