All these banker folks are oddballs! Before you think of swank Ermenegildo Zegna suit clad suave creatures, let me stop you, no I’m definitely not talking about the posh Wall Street ones or the stuffed up ones with their noses inside the FT and a morning cup of espresso in their hands.
I’m talking about our own desi tambrahm versions – the predominant brahmin community uncles, who proudly wear their employers nametag alongside their intials, sometimes even as their initials! The ‘kaapi’ guzzling mamas who read The Hindu as though they were appearing today for their CAIIB’s and some of the questions were secretly hidden in that days’ paper.
There is a classic tell all and a characteristic style of conversation you’ll be subjected to if you ever bump into one of them. You’d think a conversation is an informal talk exchanging ideas and views. Not with a PNB Ravi or Canara bank Chandru. To them a conversation is a questionnaire – to extract maximum information from the other with pointed questions often of incorrect grammar. And well, the conversation would be lopsided. They ask all the questions and you give them the answers. Conversation? No, interrogation? Yes!
Typically they phrase their questions to begin with ‘Whether’. I have not seen a more severe abuse of that poor english word.
“Whether this employment holds good prospects for you?”
“Whether you know the route to the station from here?”
“Whether this Alto is yours?”
“Whether you intend to stay in Chennai or settle abroad? Its not good to leave your parents here for long you see. They are also getting old.”
Hunh! really? since when does prefixing Whether to a sentence make it a question?
Even if meeting you after a long while they dispense with niceties and jump straight to it.
“Are you in employment now?”
“What is your assignment?”
What is my assignment? Well, I would have one if I went to school or college! What they really meant is what’s your nature of work and which industry are you in!
And God forbid if they fancy emailing you. You can smell it a mile away.
They start off with something along the lines of – “You may confirm that you are well” and invariably sign it off with “You may please confirm receipt and acknowledge without further delay”!
So much for the aura around our dear ‘bankers’ but all said, they do have their unique old world charm and a clique of them will never fail to entertain!