Five of the Seven

(My L1-P1 Speech under the Pathways Program – Speech delivered at Doha Toastmasters Club meeting held on Saturday, 4th August 2018)

Shakespeare in his play “As You like it” says:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Toastmaster of the day, fellow Toastmasters and guests! Good Evening!

I made my entrance on the stage in 1962 (Ancient? Antique?). The world at that time was full of milk and honey! And I did not like milk! We had a cow in those days and it used to love its freedom! It will not return on some days after grazing and going in search of this truant lady and bringing her back used to be my challenging task!

Going to school, a Kannada Medium one at Udupi in Karnataka (India), was all fun because we got to play in rain water in barefoot. Barefoot, not because we couldn’t afford footwear, but because it was very inconvenient to wear!

Teachers, in those days, were highly committed and also commanded huge respect. I can’t forget the pride I saw in my Headmaster’s eyes when he broke the news of me getting fourth rank in the Merit List and the National Merit Scholarship.

I still wonder what stuff our Kannada Pundit was made of! He used to take classes after the school hours on Kannada Literature which was not even part of our syllabus! This did inspire me to try my hand in writing short stories, some of which were published too!

My college stint was cut short as I opted for employment as a clerk in LIC. I was all of eighteen years old at that time! It was not an economic necessity. I just did not want to miss an opportunity which came after being successful in a competitive exam.

While in the service of LIC, completed my graduation through Correspondence and appeared for SBI Probationary Officers’ recruitment exam. Fortunately got selected from nearly a million applicants. But unfortunately, got posted to remote North Eastern part of India. While in Guwahati, I courageously opted for a posting in more remote southern Mizoram at a place called Tlabung, a place where India, Bangladesh and Mynmar meet. 30 years back, this place had no electricity and no proper roads! There was a saying in Mizo which meant “Tlbung is soooo faraway ………………that even the sky is not covering it”. But SBI was there. I have very sweet memories of this place, much better than my later postings at SBI Hong Kong and SBI, Mauritius.

By this time, I got a co-passenger and then there came two little passengers, who are now on their own journey of discovery. My son, a B. Tech from NITK, Suratkal is pursuing his passion in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Don’t ask me what is that). He started his ‘start-up’ after giving up a promising career with Goldman Sachs. My daughter is in Seattle, US with a large online retailer, after doing her MS in IT from University of Florida.

Twenty years in SBI took me through retail banking, commercial banking, treasury, risk management and structured finance. Then, my spirit of adventure got better of me and I left a promising career in SBI to take up employment with a bank in Kuwait. This bank got converted into an Islamic bank and I was entrusted with many responsibilities during this conversion. This helped me to  learn a lot about Islamic banking.

In 2008, Qatar lured me into its fold, first in employment with an Investment bank and then with Qatar Central Bank. Now, as an Advisor in Governor’s Office, I am having a fulfilling career contributing to banking sector stability and growth.

Thus, I have passed through the first five stages of being a son, a student, a husband, a father, and a banker. I am now looking forward for the next two stages:

• A role in which I can give something back to the society and

• Then to gracefully grow old and earn the title ‘Wise Old Man’!

As always, the journey was much more fascinating than the joy of reaching the destination and my take-away is that what makes one really happy is good relationships which one develops on his journey!

Over to you

(Here is the link to watch this speech as delivered at the meeting of Doha Toastmasters Club on 4th August 2018 : https://youtu.be/ORoYVftGC30 )