The Song Remains the Same
It is often said that enlightenment can be reached through asceticism and a complete rejection of the body and physical desires. Once upon a time I aspired for such greatness. To dress myself in rags, take the barest sustenance necessary to preserve life, adopt the starved and beaten appearance, awaken my innermost soul and bring this GODDDAAMMN chain of karma and rebirth to a FCKIN end.
Then I heard a voice and an icy chill stole over me - “Teri maa ne barson rotiyaan bel bel ke tujhe padaya, likhaya, bada kiya (your mom has spent years kneading bread and raised you) " with blurry images of a frail woman at a distance "and this is how you pay back? Son, there is more to life than chasing bees and chewing on rocks. You are missing out on the Korean barbecue. And also Japanese p----”
I became a banker instead.
Now, it is a common misconception that bankers are conceited, mean people who rob millions of their daily bread. That they are greedy, incompetent, reckless, white collar, criminal executive scumbags - “gareebon ka khoon choos chooske khud ke liye Rolex ki ghadi aur Rayban ka chashma khareedne waale” type. No Sir.
They are instead peaceful people (smiling gently inwardly). One can recognize a banker by his complete peacefulness of demeanor, the stillness of his form and the sparkle in his eyes Speaking soft, considerate words with the voice carried to the listeners like a dandelion parachute ball floating in gentle breeze. They do not boast about their cleverness and wisdom, act with surprising humility and credit all knowledge they have to the Greek Masters and JK Rowling (of the Harry Potter fame). Men who have truly conquered the self. They deserve to walk on water one day and I’m sure they will.
In addition, they are a breed who conduct themselves with utmost sophistication in front of fellow human beings. They are the gallant knights who treat ladies with honor, respect and devotion. They take the girl in their arms, gently hold her closer, whisper softly in her ear, kiss her tenderly and then in a fit of extreme passion bash a random guy in the bar. (They could go out and slay a dragon but dragons are hard to find these days)
And once I joined the herd, life turned a full 570 degrees. I was asked to read up on Itos lemma. And Harry Potter. “Sajid my lad” said my mentor rushing down a mountain with a few stone tablets in his hand “you are pursuing a noble profession. This is the most wonderful, most exciting and most gratifying thing you can do -after Sex and a game of Chinese chequers over a joint”
Finer things are expected of me now. Posting weird photos with corny captions on face book is a strict no-no. Standing on the 43rd floor overlooking the Tokyo skyline and discussing such interesting topics as the devaluation of the Yuan ,the yield/risk ratio of a BBB- rated collateralized mortgage backed securities is a yes yes. Lady gaga, 50 cent and snoop D-O double G is no no. Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony, 4th movement in F major – fully acceptable. Nose picking is …. I think you got the point.
And then there is the kandhon pe boj (responsibility on my shoulders). India is aiming for 10% growth rate for the next 20 years. Or is it 20% for the next 10 years? Well, whatever. If we don’t meet that goal, you are going to hold me responsible, no? Like they did to Uncle Greenspan. “Sajid ne apna kaam theek se nahi kiya to yeh naubat aagayi” you'll say.
So folks, I shall now go and pump some iron. You guys go contribute to the world GDP. Peace, love and empathy.