Muslim’s test of a Brahmin’s Integrity?


My Ex-colleague, lets call him  (Mr.G) and a good old family friend narrated this interesting incident to me. It was about 25 years ago when he joined our company, a large Financial Institution, as the Chief Accountant. A very smart, highly educated*, well read South Indian Brahmin with a pleasing personality. He worked in the same floor as me, seated across the corridor and also we are members of the same Association.

Six months into his job, his boss, Mr. B, a staunch Kuwaiti Muslim asked him to join on a 6 day duty trip to the Far East. Traveling in Far East for both Mr.G and Mr.B had big problem with food. Mr.G a Brahmin would not touch non vegetarian food and Mr.B a pure Muslim would not touch non-halal meat. So every day Mr.G religiously ate his share of noodles and Mr.B stuck to his fish or prawns.

Every evening they shared the dinner table talking about the day’s events and investments. But chinwag always started with Mr.B saying I know Mr.G you are a pure vegetarian, its ok when you are at home but now that you are away from home why don’t you taste these delicious prawns? These grilled prawns are amazing. Just try one piece…

Mr.G replied saying no Mr.B I can’t do that it’s against my belief/principles. Anyway thank you for the offer. This went on for five consecutive nights. Like old gramophone recorded it played the same tone night after night. Both had the question and answers by heart!!

Sixth and the final night while going down for dinner Mr.G thought to himself about Mr.B’s offering prawns every night and wondering why he keeps pushing him when Mr.B know that he is not eating. I am not going to eat it and also I feel bad to say no to him every day. Any ways Mr. B is the boss and today will be last day and tomorrow onwards I don’t have to think how to refuse his offer!! So its dinner time again.. and Mr.G is looking at Mr.B’s face before the start of the dinner expecting the question to pop out.

Mr.B smiles at Mr.G and says you know Mr.G last five days I have been asking rather forcing you to eat prawns. I knew very well that you don’t eat non veg. I am really sorry. In reality I was just testing you how strong is your belief and how long you will stick to your principals. Now I know you are a man of principals and would not change easily. Even though I was compelling you every day, you would not budge and stuck to your noodles. I have been observing you from the time you joined us this was just a final touch. Now I can trust you with our investments and I am sure you will do a good job.

Mr.G could not find a word to reply to him.

Thus began a trust and bond between them. Currently both head different private Investment Companies as Chairmen!

*I was told that Mr.G, is the first Indian to pass the CFA exam in 1988 and been grading the CFA exams in the US since 1999!!