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Read "In The Name of God" by Ravi Subramanian available from Rakuten Kobo. Kobo BooksKobo eBooksFREE - In Google Play. VIEW . Private India - ( Private 8) ebook by James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi . ; Imprint: Penguin; ISBN: ; Language: English; Download options: EPUB 3 (Adobe DRM). Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Ravi Subramanian is the bestselling author of the Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like Additional gift options are available when buying one eBook at a time. Learn more $ Read with Our Free App; Paperback $ 3. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Ravi Subramanian is India's numero uno thriller writer, having written five bestselling books. An alumnus of Indian Institute .

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.

The Mother I Never Knew. That's The Way We Met. Sudeep Nagarkar. Who Am I. Dada Bhagwan. The Promise. Nikita Singh. The Curse of the Goddess. Satyajit Ray. Shobha De. Crimes Against Women. The Holy CEO: An Autobiography. Scars of Love. Meeting Shiva. Tiziana Stupia. Tales of Gopal: Mystery of the Elephant God. At Night You Sleep Alone. Parkash Sohal.

Dark Intentions. Dead Meat. Ankush Saikia. Kiss and Tell. Nistula Hebbar. Mumbai Dreams. Joygopal Poddar. The Kidnap. Shyam Sundar Bulusu. RV Raman. The Assassinations. Vikram Kapur. At the Crack of Dawn. Meenu Gupta.

The Heart of India. Mark Tully. The Last War. Sandipan Deb. More Tales of Gopal: Allah to Zen. Swami Chaitanya Keerti. The Racketeer. John Grisham. Remember Death. Saikia Ankush. Noble Use Of Money. Saving Faith. David Baldacci.

Himalayan White. Amitabh Pandey. Arunachala Shiva. John David formerly Premananda. Act of Terror. Marc Cameron. Diamonds Are for All. Surender Mohan Pathak. Power Play.

Catherine Coulter. Day Zero. Urban Curse. Sangbaran Chatterjee. The Rainmaker. The Price You Pay. Somnath Batabyal. Chess without a Queen.

Virag Dhulia. The Cairo Affair. Olen Steinhauer. Ted Bell.

If God Was a Banker - Ravi Subramanian

Once Upon a Dharam Yudh. Vibhor Tikiya. Presumed Innocent. Scott Turow. Love Forever Rajpath. Kalpana Mishra. Reversible Error. Robert K. The Householder. Amitabh Bagchi. The Boy From Allahabad. Ruchir Verma. The Lance. Alex Lukeman. The Secretive SIX.

Saurabh Mathur. Goodfellowe MP. Michael Dobbs. Davy Mohan. Siddharth S. Text Classics. Shane Maloney. A Journey from Hell to Heaven. Ajoy Ghosh. This attitude will take you a long way. Could you tell us what you aspire to achieve over the next ten years Everyone in the audience was shocked. Such impudence was very unlike Sundeep.

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Thank you, young man. Congratulations again. This was the first time the world had got a taste of the real Sundeep. The Sundeep they had not seen till now. The successful Sundeep Srivastava had marked his arrival in style. These banks were slow and laid back. Customer service was not a word from their dictionary. Archaic technology, lack of customer-oriented processes, and antique products were their hallmark.

Foreign banks were very small. They had very few branches and operated in a heavily regulated environment. Banking was synonymous with pinstripes-clad corporate bankers. Retail banking hadn't made its presence felt. The small individual customer was not on anybody's mind. These banks made so much money from large corporations that it was not worth their while to invest in building relationships and to run after small customers.

No one in India even considered retail banking a viable option. World over, banking had metamorphosed. Corporate banking had lost its sheen. Large corporations had started squeezing banks on margins, and the banks had little choice but to comply with the demands of these giants, or else exit the business. There were always ten banks waiting at the doorsteps of the corporations, each willing to lend at rates lower than yours.

Every bank worth its dime in the developed world had transitioned from servicing high-end corporates to higher margin retail customers. Banks in India were slow to catch on.

They were still running after the miniscule margins they were making on the large Tata and Birla companies. They couldn't see the change coming in at breakneck speed. And that's where New York International Bank saw a golden opportunity.

It decided to step in and fill the gap in the retail banking sector in this country. The NYB local management, however, was from the old school of thought. They were all corporate bankers with no exposure outside the country. They had obvious reservations on the launch of retail banking. Convincing them was taking so long that NYB decided to hire a completely new team for this purpose. Retail banking needed a new aggression, and a thought process different from what was found in the world of Indian corporate banking.

Aditya needed energy, passion, and drive in his team, and decided to hire fresh talent from premier institutes. It was thought that anyone from outside the banking industry would come in with new ideas that could redefine banking. Along with energy and aggression, the team members had to possess high intellectual calibre. Where else would they find it, but in the top MBA institutes in the country. Sundeep, IIM-B topper, was one of those who got an offer.

He did not have to think twice before accepting, despite an ordinary pay packet. Smart Sundeep could read the future. His decision was driven by the challenge of doing something new and different. Something that hadn't been done in India before: He was confident that, with the bank's global expertise, it won't be long before it made its presence felt in Indian retail banking. And this, he was sure, would catapult his career into the stratosphere. Are you unwell? Should I get you something?

Your wife. I didn't get you on your extension and walked in,' Louisa's voice was full of concern. For a moment Sundeep was surprised. Natasha would not normally call him so early in the morning. Hope all is fine. Ajay has been insisting on going to the zoo. I am taking both the kids there. Will eat out. Was planning to watch a movie at the dome with the kids. Will only be back by six.

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Just wanted to check if that's fine with you. You would anyway be back only after that. It's perfectly fine. I would also have come, had it not been for I have stopped expecting you to do these things. Be back by dinner time. See ya. Natasha hung up before Sundeep could say anything farther. It was a quarter to eight in the morning, too early for an induction programme for new recruits, which was to start only at half past nine. The bank offices had not even been opened.

A towering security guard, rifle in hand, refused to let him in. The guard insisted that the gates could only be opened after an authorised personnel came in. And corporate bankers were not known to be ones who came on time. They normally stumbled in well past the official bank reporting time of 9. Sundeep tried out his best powers of persuasion on the guard, but to no avail. So he decided to make himself comfortable on the bench just outside the building.

The bench had been put there for the guards to sit for a while when they came off their duty. No more than three people could squeeze into it.

He cursed himself for having come so early and turned towards the wooden bench. Sitting on the bench was a young man, roughly the same age as Sundeep. Wearing an oversized coat, he was deeply engrossed in reading a copy of the Economic Times. He had plonked himself right in the middle of the bench, leaving no space on either side for anyone to sit. It was only then that Sundeep noticed the file in the man's hand. It had a letter that looked quite similar to the one Sundeep had got at the time of his appointment.

He quickly realised that the person sitting on the bench had also come to join NYB. He had, in fact, reached earlier than Sundeep. The vibhuti mark on his forehead, and his well-oiled and combed hair gave him away as someone from the south of the Deccan. Tam-Brahms were known to be highly intelligent, honest, and not so aggressive.

My name is Sundeep Srivastava. Am joining NYB today as a management trainee. I can see from your letter that you have also come in to join today. Have you been waiting here for too long? My name is Swaminathan. The tone was typically South Indian. Now Sundeep was sure that here was a southie. I do not know anyone here.

I had no idea how long it would take to reach this place. So I left the hotel at 6. Didn't want to be late on day one. Passed out this year,' said Swaminathan. And you? Have lived my life there. Swaminathan didn't mind and smiled back. He was used to people commenting on his appearance when they met him for the first time. Thus began a legendary partnership in NYB—the fast and aggressive Sundeep versus the mature and sensible Swami. Swami was also the eldest son in a family of modest means.

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He was barely two-years old when he lost his father. His father, a clerk in the rural development ministry, had struggled to feed a family of four with his measly salary.

With no savings, the small pension was just not enough, and the retirement benefits went into paying off the mortgage on their one-bedroom house in Mylapore, a middle-income locality in Chennai.

Bringing up Swami and his sister was not easy. Their mother struggled hard to put them through school. She would cook at various Brahmin households and marriages to raise money for their education. Both the children never made her feel that what they had was not enough. Swami was an intelligent and hard working student who always topped his class. When he reached college, he was lucky to get a scholarship. That was a big relief for his mother, because her earnings were just not enough to manage the expenses for both the children.

Swami was quick to realise that his mother would not be able to manage the ever-increasing expenses, despite his scholarship.

He got himself transferred to an evening college. This gave him an opportunity to work for a few hours during the day and supplement his family income.

He started off by keeping accounts for Nalli's, a large chain of sari stores in Chennai. He would spend 9. The salary that he earned from Nalli's was just enough to ensure a normal life for the three of them.

Graduation completed, Swami was faced with a dilemma. Should he continue his studies, or should he give it all up and take up a full-time job to provide for his family. His mother made the decision easier. She insisted that he should study further. She had somehow managed for 19 years, with occasional support from Swami. She didn't want to stumble at the final milestone.

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She knew that another two years and Swami would make it. She had great faith in Swami's commitment and intellect, and was hopeful of him getting a scholarship. True to her expectations, Swami got into the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, the best management institute in the country. At the end of his first term there, when the scholarship list was announced, Swami's name was right on top.

He won a full waiver of his tuition fees. When he broke the news to his mother, she couldn't hold back her tears. She wept continuously that whole day; if only Swami's father were around, how he would have swelled with pride. He had made it by the whisker. He was sixth in the merit list at his institute and NYB was hiring only five. However, a batch mate of his, Sandeep Runwal, who was third on the merit list, decided to join his father's booming construction business, and opted out of campus placements.

This piece of good luck made a huge difference to Swami's life. Swami, who was sixth on the merit list, made it as a reserve candidate. It meant a lot to him. Once he got out of the institute, Swami had no money.

While at IIM-A, he survived on scholarship, and his family survived on the money he had saved earlier. His sister took tuitions and earned some money to supplement their mother's income. Life was not easy in those two years. But all along he knew that there was light at the end of the tunnel. All that was about to come true. Their lives were going to change on joining NYB. Swami had spent these two months doing odd jobs.

He saved enough to buy himself a good set of clothes. After all, he was joining a foreign bank. Foreign banks in those days were a designer's paradise. Pinstripe suits, jackets and exotic ties were in vogue. The dress code prescribed in the appointment letter was 'business formals.

He couldn't afford one. So he borrowed a jacket from a friend who was eighty pounds heavier than him. This time, the guard didn't stop them. Day one of the induction began with Aditya Rao addressing the gathering. Aditya had a reputation of being a tough boss. A banker with a reputation to protect.

A person who was heavily focused on the task at hand, and for whom career was everything. They had actually hired forty new recruits, but two of them didn't join NYB on the appointed day. All of them were ushered into a conference room that could barely accommodate twenty-five people. Aditya deliberately paused for a minute before he spoke his next line.

We are going to start a war. And in war, there is no family and there are no friends. In war, there is only the enemy and the mission. We cannot rest until we win,' he roared.

Swaminathan was sitting in the first row, listening intently. He was overawed by the tone and the energy in the message. Sundeep was his usual overconfident self, sitting the farthest from the firing line.

While Aditya Rao continued elaborating his vision for the bank, Sundeep gently tapped the shoulder of the PYT pretty young thing sitting in a row ahead of him.

Kalpana was her name. Sundeep had always flirted with her through the two years at campus, but that was something he did with many women. She never took him seriously. But Sundeep was not the one to give up. Together we will build the best consumer bank in this country. Congratulations on joining me here. I hope each one of you handpicked guys has a wonderful career at New York International Bank. Swaminathan, sitting in the first row, clapped till his hands got tired and he realised that he was the only one still clapping.

The session broke for tea. Tea and biscuits were being served in the lobby outside the conference room. Swaminathan was completely overawed by the occasion. Aditya Rao's words kept ringing in his mind: We cannot rest until we win. Hadn't his life been a war all along? Survival was his mission, and he was close to achieving it. His hand went inside his coat pocket and out came a handkerchief, which wiped a tear that had sneaked out from the corner of his eye.

While Sundeep was having tea during the break, a khaki-clad peon came and handed him a small chit. He opened it and was taken aback. The chit read: Was it good? Did it spell disaster? He had no clue. His heart started pounding faster. First day in office and the unit head sends out a note to meet him. He had no choice but to wait, wondering what was in store for him. Sundeep's journey back in time was abruptly disturbed by a knock on the cabin door. She had a tremendous faith in his leadership and business building capabilities.

Michelle was the one who had, in fact, recommended Sundeep's name, when Chetan Bindra moved out to take over as the Global Head of Retail Banking. It was not too difficult to swing the job for Sundeep as he had successfully delivered in roles across the globe. Not when you are at this level.

I can't protect you even if I want to. You know that,' said Sundeep, in a voice that belied his own confidence in what he was saying. Why don't you understand someone is playing me? Anyway, a lot has been said on this. What's the verdict? Tedd wants to meet you today. By the way, I came to tell you that Tedd can only make it at 3. The meeting at Just came to check if that suits you. Michelle left, leaving him alone in his cabin—just he and his thoughts.

Please hold all calls till I tell you to put them through. I am not to be disturbed for the next two hours. Kalpana, who was still sitting in front of Sundeep, could sense that something was wrong with him.

He had not tried flirting with her in the past three hours. Though she would never accept it publicly, she quite liked Sundeep's attention. She turned around and looked at him a couple of times, but Sundeep didn't respond.

He was lost in his own thoughts. Thoughts of what was in store for him in Aditya's room. The last few minutes of the day were spent in discussing logistics for the next day and the schedule for the next week. It was a month-long training programme, with a week of classroom training, and three weeks of 'on the job' training, in which the new recruits would spend time at the branches of New York International Bank and observe how work gets done.

At the end of one month, they were to reassemble, assess what they have learnt, and list out their preferred areas of work. This would form the basis of their final assignments. We will meet tomorrow morning at nine, in this very room. Our party tonight will begin at 8.

Brian Close will address you. Please be on time. Formals please. Don't forget your jackets. See ya there. He was extremely nervous and didn't want to stay back and speak to anyone. He headed for the den of the don Aditya Rao. On his way he saw a rest room and ducked into it.

He washed his face and freshened up. He wanted to be sure that he was properly groomed before meeting Aditya for the first time. For the first time in his life Sundeep was nervous before a meeting. It was the fear of the unknown. Why had Aditya called him? This question was gnawing his brain. But he knew one thing for sure: For good or bad, he didn't know, but he had to capitalise on this.

He is expecting you. Please wait for a second while I check with him,' said Natasha. She was an attractive young woman, surely not older than twenty-one, and looked like someone straight out of college. Natasha got up from her seat and walked into Aditya's room. Sundeep couldn't help noticing how attractive she was. Sundeep surveyed the secretary's workspace. She had a large cubicle. In other organisations, six to eight employees would be seated in the space that she occupied.

There was a plush leather sofa, definitely an imported item. He tried guessing the place of origin of the sofa. UK, Germany, probably Greece! He couldn't make up his mind and eventually gave up. If the secretary had this kind of space, he could well imagine the size and furnishings of Aditya's office. Despite his nervousness, he couldn't help being distracted by these thoughts. Can I get you something? Thank you. I will just wait here. He had just walked back from the induction programme. There is a guy in there called Sundeep.

Please send a note to him and ask him to see me after the session ends for the day. He had called her again within the next three minutes and crackled over the speakerphone: She had been in the organisation for no more than thirty days and had already become indispensable for Aditya. Knowing Aditya, she was feeling a bit sorry for Sundeep. She was beginning to like him. He was looking for familiar faces in an alien crowd. Being an introvert, it was a challenge for him to go and talk to people on his own.

He was standing alone in the corner of the training hall, holding the study material that they had been given. It was 6. He had nowhere to go. He walked back into the classroom and opened the spiral bound books.

They were actually not books, but collations of the various presentations that the seniors from the organisation had made to the group. He was soon completely engrossed in his reading material. He looked up through his thick glasses and found Kalpana staring down at him. I saw your picture on the notice board for our batch. They hadn't spoken to each other despite being in a small group of thirty-eight people.

Swami was too shy to initiate a conversation with anyone, and if it was a woman, Swami would stay a mile away. Let's go and get ourselves some fresh air. The Marine Drive promenade offered a breathtaking view of the whole of south Mumbai. For years, Queen's Necklace, as Marine Drive was otherwise called, was dear to the heart of every Mumbaikar.

Pick up any magazine on Mumbai and you would find it on the cover. The place is particularly engaging at the cusp when day bids adieu and night takes over. Hordes of people gather to see the spectacle of the lights coming on one by one in a gigantic semi-circle—the glittering pearls on the Queen's necklace of lights.

Kalpana literally dragged Swami to Marine Drive, from the confines of the training room. While all his classmates would actively seek out female company, Swami would be happy in the world of books, spending all his free time in the library. This single-minded dedication had partly to do with his modest means that didn't allow him to spend money on girlfriends like most of his friends. He didn't want to be embarrassed, and so stayed away. Marine Drive was extremely windy. The waves were lashing against the rocky shore.

Water was splashing all over the promenade. Kalpana and Swami were chatting and strolling on the path alongside the shore. Swami was a little worried about his borrowed jacket getting wet; he would have to wear it again tomorrow. But he was embarrassed to mention it.

He quietly moved as far away from the water as he could without making it obvious to Kalpana. Kalpana, however, saw through his effort. There's a fundo shop on the other side. Let's go there. Let's go,' she responded spontaneously.

I have roamed these streets for years. I know every street, every nook and corner.

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Leave me in any galli, and I will find my way back home. Her parents moved to UK when she was very young. They spent a few years there, but finding it difficult to bring up a child in alien surroundings, they moved back to India and set up shop in Mumbai in the early seventies.

They opened a small electronics goods store. Their business grew rapidly, and now they had a chain of twelve stores in Mumbai alone. Planning to make their chain a nationwide success, they were also talking to a number of foreign brands for collaboration. Kalpana was their only daughter. Independence Cafe was a small joint just off Marine Drive. It was frequented by college goers and had a relatively young crowd patronising it. They looked around and settled for a table in the corner, away from the door.

It's away from the door and there is less disturbance here. The first item on the menu card was 'South Indian Filter Coffee. The Hindu newspaper, and his morning cup of coffee. Ever since he landed in Mumbai, Swami had got neither.

A shabbily dressed waiter came to the table. Swami waited till the waiter was out of earshot. Are you worried about your sugar levels or is it plain calorie consciousness? Not at all,' laughed Kalpana. I am not calorie conscious at all.

You look good anyway. Was he flirting with Kalpana? He had never done such a thing in his whole life. Clumsy though he was, Kalpana couldn't resist a smile, and Swami was embarrassed.

He didn't know what to say. Kalpana found his embarrassment quite amusing. She was beginning to like his simplicity. Swami came across as an honest, down-to-earth guy.

No one makes guys like these nowadays, she thought. They talked about nearly everything under the sun. The weather, their families, their aspirations, their lifestyles, and more. Completely oblivious of the passage of time, they seemed to be enjoying each other's company. Kalpana just happened to glance at her watch and exclaimed, 'Oh my god!

It's 8. We will have to rush immediately. Swami couldn't have paid for the three rounds of coffee and watermelon juice. By the time they reached the ballroom, it was 8. They were five minutes late. Everyone else from their group had arrived. Swami looked around the room trying to find Sundeep, but there was no trace of him.

Sundeep was with Aditya Rao. The five minutes that Natasha had initially indicated stretched to forty-five minutes. But Sundeep just had to wait. He could not push his way through here, especially since it concerned Aditya Rao. There are no sirs here. Sundeep was shivering in his pants.

What had he done? Topper at IIT. Army major's son. Mother, a doctor. Impressive, very impressive young man. Quite an impressive pedigree, son. He chose to keep quiet, lest he said something wrong. Obviously, something he had done in the morning had pissed off Aditya. You were extremely distracted on the first day of your job. I noticed that you were also disturbing those who wanted to learn something.

This is not acceptable, my friend. But Sundeep was no idiot. He realised that this was his only chance—not only to make up for what he had done, but also to leave a lasting impression on Aditya.

If he managed to pull this one through, he would always be on top of mind as far as Aditya was concerned. Sundeep apologised for his behaviour.

He realised that this was the best thing to do. I am sorry. You should try to know your colleagues, realise their strengths and weaknesses, and focus on the task at hand. This will help you go a long way in any organisation. First impressions last long. Always remember this. I will take utmost care in the future,' responded the ambitious Sundeep to his boss' sermon. Sundeep wanted to leave Aditya with a good feeling. No point getting egoistic with the boss.

Aditya had made his point and was a bit relaxed now.

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The retail launch strategy paper was a document given to all new recruits as a part of their joining kit. He had decided to challenge Aditya on this. Aditya looked at him disdainfully. I remember you mention that we were planning to launch credit cards first, before we launch any other product in the retail segment. I have serious doubts about whether this would work in India.

That's why I quickly went through the strategy paper during the break, to figure out the rationale. Even after reading the document, I am not convinced. Sundeep had his complete attention. He said: We will get customers and will also manage to get them to use our cards. In the process, we will build a huge client base that will be the envy of every other organisation.

In fact, so huge a customer base that our existing infrastructure and technology will not be able to support it. Our overburdened service delivery system will creak, and we will give away all our goodwill and market to the next player who comes in with better services and systems.

And use that to build our brand in the retail space. This will give us some time to set up the required infrastructure. We cannot afford to do that. Not sir. If you were to ask me, the first product I would launch in this market would be car loans. It is a product which is backed by security, and there is no large player in the market. If we do it well, it will establish us as a leading player in the market, and give us some revenues to play around with. We will get enormous media presence.

Every car ad will scream: They will spend the money and we will book the loans. This will give us time to set up an infrastructure to sell credit cards.

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We will then be able to sell cards from every car dealership in the country. Just imagine the distribution capability we would have set up. Imagine a situation where we start selling cards through eight hundred car dealerships across the country.

If each dealership sells a hundred cards a month, we would have sold eighty thousand cards a month, which will propel us to a different level altogether. His eyes didn't leave Sundeep for a minute. Was this a rookie speaking, or was this an experienced professional? Aditya was completely floored. Aditya believed in debate. He did not propagate a dictatorial approach to business.

He was willing to learn, even if it was from a rookie. However, no one had ever come up and told him that he was wrong. When Aditya had set out to build this business, his thinking was exactly the same as Sundeep's. Somewhere down the line, it got diluted and he decided to place his faith in NYB's expertise in cards in other markets. But what Sundeep was saying made eminent sense to him. Surprisingly, in his project report Sundeep had argued that the launch strategy for any retail bank in India had to be driven by its credit cards product.

Then why did he change his stance now, and say exactly the opposite to Aditya? Well, no one knew. The discussion between the boss and the new recruit went on and on, and neither was in a mood to stop it.

Just then the door opened and Natasha came in. I completely forgot about it. Thanks, Natasha. By the time they finished, it was well past I must say that your CV is not the only thing that looks impressive. You have an impressive mind too. I have not only made him miss Brian Close's address, but also his dinner. Wasn't she happy to be stuck with him? But at least twice a week. Aditya normally works late and expects you to work late too.

His earlier secretary, Leena, used to work really hard. She would do everything on time, but had to leave at six everyday. She had a problem. Her daughter was in a day care, which would shut down at 6. I have picked up from others that she was the most efficient secretary to have ever worked in New York International Bank. Still, Aditya didn't like her. She resigned about two months ago. For Aditya, if you leave before him, you haven't worked hard enough.

Do not leave before Aditya does. If that was the culture in New York International Bank, he better follow it. The two of them stepped out to Kala Ghoda in the Fort area of Mumbai for a quick bite. They had an uneventful and quick dinner.

Both were tired at the end of a long day. Natasha quite enjoyed Sundeep's company. Sundeep, on the other hand, kept comparing her with Kalpana. Natasha would run Kalpana close on almost every aspect, but Sundeep was biased in favour of Kalpana. By the time they finished their dinner, Sundeep had gathered that Natasha was single and did not have a boyfriend.

He could also make out that Natasha kinda liked him. He invited her to dinner on Saturday evening, which Natasha promised to consider. She couldn't have said yes at the first instance, and Sundeep knew that. NYB was no exception. Expat CEOs in the Indian financial services market had a typical problem. They failed to see the Indian market as something different from the developed world they came from.

It beat them why a customer in Delhi could not access his account from Mumbai. Technology drove banks in the developed world; in India everything was pretty much manual.

It was difficult for them to understand why it was impolite to push an Indian customer to an ATM for withdrawing cash, when in the US, not to have ATMs was simply inefficient service delivery. They couldn't grasp why, in a country with over a billion people, it was difficult to find thirty smart, educated persons.

They also got into another usual MNC rut. Converted into dollars, the money an organisation would make in India after tremendous struggle would hardly stack up.

India would contribute only a miniscule proportion to an MNC's global profits and hence would be way down in the pecking order. This would hurt the expat's self-esteem and they would want to go back to their home country.

Things have changed a lot since then, but when Swami and Sundeep joined New York International Bank, things were still pretty much gloomy. The hierarchies in every multinational was reminiscent of the days of the Raj; the brown Indians would never get the top post. A foreigner needn't be a top performer to become a CEO in India. An average performer willing to go to India stood a good chance to get the job.

India was perceived to be a difficult and hostile country to work in. Punishment posting, it was called. Expats sent to India also got a hardship allowance for having agreed to work here.

Brian Close too was one such banker. He had joined NYB over three decades ago, as a teller—the ones who count cash behind the counter whenever you walk into a bank—and was close to retirement. India was his last assignment and he was due to retire in nine months.

Brian Close's speech was nothing great. He was one of those expat CEOs who begin to think of themselves as rock stars the moment they get the microphone, and think that the Indian employees are suckers who would gleefully lap up any Hindi word thrown at them in an anglicised accent.

He expected the new recruits to jump in ecstasy at his Hindi. That didn't happen. Still he went on for over forty-five minutes, without conviction. When he stepped off the podium, there was a thunderous applause.

One thing was not clear though: Did the new recruits applaud him for a fabulous speech, or were they simply relieved that the torture had ended! Brian thought it was the former, while the look on the faces of Swami and Kalpana made one believe that it was definitely the latter. Kalpana was glued to Swami for almost the entire evening.

She had begun to admire him. Swami was a humble human being, with a deep intellect and a clear thought process. When Brian came and met them after the address, Kalpana was impressed by the way in which Swami spoke with him— crisp, concise, clear, and, most important, honest.

In the Name of God by Ravi Subramanian

She couldn't help comparing him with the aggressive, arrogant, and brash Sundeep. Swami clearly stood out. On her way home, Kalpana couldn't stop thinking about Swami and Sundeep.

Natasha too was lost in thoughts, but she had only Sundeep on her mind. What happened? The latter was not listening. His eyes were focused on the door. Kalpana had just walked in. She was looking stunning in a violet sari. Her free flowing hair added to her girlish charms, leaving Sundeep speechless for a minute.

But Sundeep was already heading towards the door. She heard him but decided to ignore it. She went straight to the vacant seat next to Swami. Sundeep realised that Swami was asking him something and turned towards him. How was the dinner last night? Did you tell him about our lunch time conversation yesterday that the launch paper is not a well thought through document, rather a hastily made one that will not cut ice in the market. He hadn't taken his eyes off Kalpana.

Sundeep did not tell Swami anything about his discussion with Aditya. Everything he had told Aditya the previous evening were actually ripped from his lunch time conversation with Swami. Sundeep had chosen not to mention Swami and had passed off everything as his own thoughts. He had no qualms about seizing the opportunity to impress Aditya. Swami would never get to know of the discussion Aditya had with Sundeep. Round one had gone to Sundeep, without Swami even realising it.

He had reached home quite late, well past midnight, after his crazy discussion with Sundeep. He could not help being impressed by the young talent he had unearthed. He stayed awake for a long time, thinking about Sundeep's point of view.