Thoughts and other trivia...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Selling Out.

Many years ago, a friend and I used to play this game, thinking up improbable and, obviously, hypothetical situations that tested how much we could resist before we sold out. The game was based on the belief that all of us, without exception, have a price. Whether it is for narrow, selfish reasons or for the perceived larger good, in the end, all of us sell out. Of course, it was light-hearted stuff and we had an incredible amount of fun playing it but, without question, the premise of the game was serious.

Without trying to paint myself as a hero, but with the greatest pride, I can claim that, to the best of my knowledge, I've resisted selling out in the real world. At times, I've had to pay a very big price for it but, nevertheless, I've resisted. I've suffered the consequences and I've put up with sarcastic comments from friends ("Nobody's going to give you a medal for it!") but I've had the satisfaction of knowing that I haven't contributed to the corruption in any way.

I lost that game with my friend many times, especially when the stakes got too high. But, in the real world, I have been able to resist every temptation. Until this morning.

I am owed a significant tax refund, which the IT people acknowledged in a telephone call they made to my CA. Two days later, I received a cheque for a little more than ten per cent of that amount. According to the CA, the only way I can get my money back is by paying a bribe. It's not a small amount and, yet, I was willing to forgo the refund because I'm not comfortable with the thought of paying a bribe. But, for days now, my CA has been trying to persuade me to be "practical" and to pay up. In fact, he insisted that if I don't pay, he will.

However, it will be unfair to credit either the CA or his power of persuasion for the decision I've finally taken - to pay the bribe. If anything, it's the money that's at stake here. And, it's certainly not a trifling amount...not for me, at least.

So, this morning, I sent the money to the CA to pay up. I've sold out as well.


Blogger Maia said...

Aww, I'm so sorry! But, what can you do? That's how it works and you know you can't fight the system.

You HAVEN'T sold out!!!

12:01 pm  
Blogger Sonia said...

And how do you feel about it?

2:15 pm  
Anonymous tabula rasa said...


6:35 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

MAIA: Thanks...but, wish I could agree :-)

SONIA: How do I feel about it? I'm pretending it never happened. I'm trying not to think about it, much less feel.

TR: Yeah, I know.

But, great to see you, man! :-) Are you still blogging? I hardly do myself but will come 'round tomorrow.

8:33 pm  
Blogger Ricercar said...


but i guess we're all human

maybe the important thing is to focus on the more important things.

this is the system. and it is so sad. but what are we doing about it. each or any of us.

9:05 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

I've tried all my life, never giving in to the temptation or pressure and, in fact, have suffered personally and professionally because of it. And I used to take pride in holding out. But, I guess, everything has a shelf life.

There's just too much of my own money at stake here.

Anyway, so I see that your blog is open to lay members of the public again :-)

10:16 am  
Blogger Maia said...

You don't agree with what? That this is NOT selling out? If that's the way it works, how else are you going to get your money back? It's YOUR money and you can't always keep forgoing it, can you?

11:17 am  
Blogger Ricercar said...

i can only try to imagine how frustrated you must feel. but i really believe that (unfortunately?) we are all only human and there's only so much we can do. i think what you have done was really remarkable inspite of this.

or think of it this way - if you have sold out, atleast your price was REALLY high :-)

you held out for SO LONG - doesnt that matter?

besides like i said, perhaps it is endemic in the system and we need to fight that system - the individual guy who took the bribe will probably be better off for it

post-hoc rationalization, you would say. but i know that if i were in your shoes and came and told you this is what happened you would tell me that having held out for so long was commendable (i think :D)

take care.

yes the blog is open. new name and all. :-)

1:12 pm  
Blogger backpacker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:18 pm  
Blogger backpacker said...


You feel badly enough about it to write about it. This isn't a case of selling out, it's an aberration.

Celebrate, you still have a conscience :)

3:21 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

MAIA: That's why I finally gave in, I suppose.

RICERCAR: Well, yeah, that's one way to look at it - to try and find little bits of consolation :-)

Hey BACKPACKER: I'm not a Ghazal or Ghalib follower but I do know he said something that would be very appropriate for me to quote in response...if I could remember it :-) It's something along the lines of what I said to Ricercar about consoling oneself.

Anyway, looks like I beat you to a new post this time ;-)

7:50 pm  
Blogger backpacker said...

You did :)
On an entirely random note, I notice you changed your font. Random, don't say I didn't warn you.

9:23 pm  
Blogger backpacker said...

PS: My real response now.

I was to go abroad to study Social research, and decided to defer my admission because the scholarship was very poor. I thought I'd work for an NGO but my teacher, and a renowned development journalist told me not to go the NGO way, but find a regular better paying job instead. "Save up for your education, and this year, let that be your good deed."

That's what I feel about your little "selling out" incident.

9:26 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

BACKPACKER: I know what you mean but there a difference in what practicality means in the two situations, no?

7:27 pm  
Blogger Ricercar said...

GoTJ, are you living for nothing now?

7:55 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Well, let's just say, we were running for the money and the flesh :-)

11:01 am  
Blogger Ricercar said...


ps - that one is my favorite by the way. there is a strange kind of purity in the defiant this-is-what-i-am-ness of it to me. though i guess the thing about art is that every one sees his own subjective version of it!

12:17 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Which one is the and the flesh or living for nothing?

I don't know about the purity and the defiance but, I think, it comes from a certain amount of objectivity about yourself - accepting that you don't fit and being okay with it. I know I am ;-)

8:34 pm  
Blogger Maia said...

Umm, did you finally get the money back?

12:33 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Not yet..the fellow hasn't been able to find the time to go.

11:26 am  
Blogger jabs1960 said...

Bribery is a crime, no? Can you not expose the guilty party, get your "bribe" back, and thus, pave the way for others to receive their returns more smoothly? That would appear to be the "right thing", would it not? You would also be standing up and fighting back, as opposed to laying down and giving in. I certainly do not know the circumstances, but this situation seems odd to me. How is an official, or representative of a government body, able to hold your refund hostage, so to speak?

2:04 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

JABS 1960: Of course, it's a crime. But, unfortunately, that's not how anyone sees it. I'd like nothing more than to report these guys and have some action taken against them. But, trust me, it wouldn't amount to a drop in the ocean. And, what's worse, I'll be a marked man and, sure as hell, they'll find a reason (or two) to'fix' me.

Although I've instructed my CA not to pay, he tells me that since the wheels have been set in motion, it may be a little late to back out now. But, since this is not something I'm comfortable with at all, I've made it very clear to him that, in future, I don't care if I don't get my money back but I'm not going to pay these guys at all.

11:48 pm  

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