The Costly Trade off!

The adage, “Power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is indeed true. Here’s the modus operandi of a senior bank manager – not all are like him – unscrupulous and wily. Tall and handsome Zafar had the charms of a devil. A white collared criminal, he was likable too. Arindam reveals the nexus of the high and the mighty, in our society, and how Zafar could arm twist businessmen and industrialists to gratify his carnal desires. Here’s a fictionalised real life account, where names and locations have been changed to conceal identities, exclusively for Different Truths.

Tall and handsome Zafar is the general manager (GM) of a prominent nationalised bank at Indore. His signature makes and mars many business houses. He knows the complex intricacies of the law and practices of the banking sector. If unhappy, he quotes the diktats of the banking laws, but when appeased, he follows the golden principles of the practices.

Needless to add that unscrupulous Zafar had amassed enormous wealth. He had a weakness for all the three W’s. However, he eyed the pretty wives and daughters of businessmen and industrialists. Now, Zafar was bragging about winning over the beauties, over drinks, with his close group of friends – a senior police officer, a local MLA, two senior journalists of local newspapers, a writer, and a successful artist, owner of an advertising agency. Zafar was boisterous. The writer was a misfit in the group but was here for the plot of his new novel. And well that misfit was me.

“How did you know, Zafar, that a businessman was pawning his wife and not an upmarket escort,” I, the cynical writer, asked.

“It’s important to ‘nurture’ the person. It’s an interesting game of the hunter and the hunted. The chase is as important as the kill. I make sure that I have drinks and dinner with the family. It’s such an innocuous demand. Who would not like to befriend me? I remember to carry a gift, a gold set for the lady of the house. A box of imported chocolates for children and may be a bouquet of fresh flowers. You can charm anyone with these,” he confessed, in a whisper almost, and added, “There is nothing called free lunch. I have to work patiently.”

Well, this is how institutionalised corruption is explained!

Everyone laughed and applauded Zafar for his smartness. Added with liquor and the pride of power, he was reckless now. He was bragging like a teenager.

“Is it a one-night stand or have you ever fallen in love with any beauties that you slept with,” asked Imtiaz, one of the journalists, blowing smoke from his cigar.

“Salma’s delicate beauty and charm and her refined nazakaat stole my heart. She is from the Nawab family in central India. Her husband owns cinema halls, multiplexes and other businesses. Her culinary skills make her irresistible,” he added, with a lecherous smile. “You are a loveable scoundrel,” quipped Sunil, the police officer. He added, “This is surely an invaluable lesson in criminology.”

“You are a loveable scoundrel,” quipped Sunil, the police officer. He added, “This is surely an invaluable lesson in criminology.”

Zafar protested with a wink, “I did not rape Salma. The attraction is mutual. Of course, she is a bi and I have shared some of my women with her.”

“You both are partners in crime,” laughed Sunil.

Diwakar, the MLA, with his drowsy eyes, suddenly twinkling, said, “You must introduce Salma to us, your close friends.”

“I want you all to be my ‘close’ and not ‘closed’ friends,” quipped Zafar.

“You certainly are a blue blood bastard,” Diwakar added, amidst laughter.

Kaushik, the other journalist, laughed, “Is it not the case of the kettle calling the pot black!”

I asked, ‘How do you manage to seduce wives and daughters of the rich and the famous. That’s an enigma.”

“It’s simple. I give the husbands long ropes. Slowly collect evidences of the many wrongs and lapses, which I earlier ignored. And at a critical time, I demand my pound of flesh. I simply say that there are two ways, ‘Kayde se ya fayde se’ (play by the rule or the mutual profit’). If they choose the rule, their business would be shut,” Zafar confided.

“My question is still unanswered.”

“Aha! So you wish to know my trade secret. That’s unfair.”

Zafar took a large gulp from his glass. There was silence. We were waiting for more.

“I will find a way out for you. I will be travelling for two days, the weekend. Ask your wife to give me company. If she is good to me I will be very good to you. It’s a trade-off after all. And you know the terrible mess you and your business are in. Your empire will fall like a pack of cards, my friend. Fair exchange is no robbery,” Zafar said in a matter-of- fact way.

I added, “Zafar, you are a true friend. A banker, you can truly be banked upon!”

The night deepened amidst laughter, camaraderie and a can of worms. This is another slice of life that we seldom see.

©Arindam Roy

Photos from the internet.

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