Am I a White Man?

I had received a call from my friend…..Sunil Sharma……that afternoon. Sunil ran a recruitment agency for overseas hiring He wanted to find out from me….if I was interested in a job placement for the position of Controller.. in Bahrain. I said I was.

When I reached his office…..that evening…for the job interview….I had second thoughts if I really wanted that job. While at the office, I was ushered into the Board Room after a short wait…..where the delegation was waiting to do their job. There were five of them…..and they appeared to be Egyptian by Nationality. I learnt later on… that only 2 of them, actually, were.

After hand-shakes and the exchange of greetings….I was offered to take a seat….and, we got down to the real business. They considered me to be a suitable candidate……after they had tested me on the scale of their questionnaire.

The terms of employment were discussed and agreed..And, when I thought it was time now to say bye……one of them asked me a question…..”BTW, are you a Half-White?” I am not sure if it was my appearance or what….that prompted this question from the Gentleman!

I was not expecting that question…but went on to respond…”No… why do you ask?”. Mr. Jaffer….that was his name… said with a smile……probably, as broad as Howrah Bridge….. “Well…Mr. Sadana….if you had said “Yes”…..we would….for sure….have increased you salary by another 50%. Honestly…..I did not think much of this comment at that time….took it as something like an Egyptian sense of humour….took leave of the delegation and of Sunil… and returned home.

Six months later… I was in Bahrain…..and in the thick of things. I had settled down well with the new work environment……..new work culture and had started to feel at home with my work responsibilities.

We used to have Managers’ meeting every morning… to discuss the day ahead and to review how to coordinate the overall effort. During one such meeting…….I came up with a suggestion to resolve a nagging issue that found unanimous favour with the participants. So much so… that the Purchase Manager….Nizaar…….could not resist himself and conceded…..” Excellent, Rajan…….you have the brain of a real White Man!”

It is, then, that I realized that Mr. Jaffer had. actually, meant it… when he had talked of the prospect of a higher salary to a White Man….. during my job interview.

I went on to learn later….during my stay over there…..that to them….. only people from a certain part of the World were supposed to be endowed with intelligence and sharp brains…..and, that anything good had…only to be from that part of the World

What was this…..I keep wondering!