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  • Writer's pictureVadhan


The things that people do to get attention sometimes truly stumps me. Tom gets hired by a top notch firm. Tom wants to create a brand for himself. Tom spends the firm’s money to position himself as the firm’s face. He attends summits and conferences. The firm pays enough for Tom to be up there with the panelists and speakers. Tom’s ex-employee from a previous firm bumps into a friend at the event where Tom is part of a discussion group. A panel. The following is the exchange of emails between the two after the event.

Hi B, It was great catching up with you in Kolkata. Had a wonderful time. I learned a lot of things about compliance from your ex-boss. I would have learned more if only he had made an effort to complete at least one sentence coherently. His highly motivational question to the panel on competition law based on tourist taxis in Manali having fixed rates for driving tourists down to different places, which drove a member of the audience to commit suicide using a shoe lace as a noose, was the flash point. No one would have failed to appreciate the predicament of the hapless panelists, who, in a flash, inherited pounding headaches and bulging eyes upon hearing the query. Their agonized plea to your ex-boss to kindly and forthwith change his holiday destination was, in my humble opinion, the highlight of the summit. I must say I did not understand why he insisted that compliance managers must paint walls wearing two coats. It was beyond me. Tc, A

The reply to that email.

Dear A, It was wonderful catching up with you.

To set your mind at ease, That was an attempt by Tom at a joke which goes something like-compliance managers wear two coats while painting because it says ‘apply two coats’ on the paint box instructions. It is supposedly to prove that compliance managers take compliance literally rather than understanding the spirit of the thing. I do remember that someone from the rear of the hall threatened to turn into a serial killer and/ or suicide bomber if Tom was allowed to utter another word. In fact several outraged compliance managers tore their shirts and started to froth ferociously from the mouth while one such desperate manager flashed to the nearest high court and returned with a gag order. Tom was not asked to express his views on the subject of compliance thereafter by the moderator, who, in my opinion, wanted to get out of the place alive.

Anyway, imagine, I worked under Tom for two years before they put me in a hospital for a breakdown. If you had noticed, he was wary of me. This is because I levitated about fifteen feet from my bed with lightening crackling down my nose when Tom paid me a visit at the hospital. I threatened him with fire and brimstone if he were ever inclined to get close to me.

I am fine now.

We’ll catch up sometime soon.

Tc. B


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