When the big guy sought appointment, my office asked for the reasons as is wont. He thought it below his dignity to answer such silly questions. I got a text from a former senior indicating ho my office was not allowing him to see me. Then I got to know. I immediately asked my office to slot him in the earliest empty cell and send him the video call link. After a while I was told he wants to come personally, not an usual request during this time. No problem. But I thought he would get a raw deal for his show of attitude again.
He came in time and started his talk harking back to the start of his career as a investment banker and his journey till now (a fallen millionaire), interspersing with questions if I know that. I said No as one has to be in listening mode during such encounters and did’t want to remind anyone about past path-crossings. So he went on to tell about the worst phase of his career and life etc. At one point he started talking about his learning during his long journey and paused to say he learnt the most from three people. The first name was one of the highest paid banker (in the world), the second name he said Mr. <something> and added that “though he shares your family name, he used to work in <>certain position in <certain year="">“. As that perplexed me a bit, I could not remember the third name he mentioned. His talk went on and I too learned a few things.</certain></something>
I did wait patiently until he came to the business point. Not that I did’t know that; Not that I did’t know what he would come to. Since the interesting part of the listening had got over I did’t want to elongate it and looked at the clock a couple of times. He was a little bit dismayed when I cut him short and told him that he is still not in the positive zone despite all he said and confided which was anyways known to us. He froze for a moment and looked blank.
“What advice you would give?” (ha..ha..a jet setter asking advice from a dispossessed monk, or its the chair?)
I did give him some helpful options and work around (“as a friend”), he would otherwise would never come to understand and he genuinely seemed having appreciated.
I realized he didn’t recognize me as same Mr. <something> as I was wearing a large mask and he never cared to remember the first name; that was in 2012-13. But I was one from who he learnt most in his life? I can not believe that. And he was telling this to a (presumed) third person ? He learnt from me to be transparent , honest, non-complex in dealings ? Ha…ha.. I can’t say this to anyone. Nobody has ever told me in my real life that he/she learnt anything from me in a positive sense, even by way of a joke.</something>
After he left, I was alone in my chamber without the mask but been reflecting on how his sense of acute frustration for me then had this positive butterfly transformation.
Thankfully, in initial bon homies, I had not asked him how is his wife’s (who had left career as a top drawing banker too) arts collection now (used to be one of the richest in the country). He never realized I was the one, he had tried to take to his side using devious means 7-8 years ago. Even false flatters at times make you forget the blues and a blue mask.