Toshakhana of shame.

My father got promoted and was made manager of a main bank branch in the city. With this promotion, he started getting an 'entertainment allowance' which was meant to help bank managers cover the cost of tea or lunch for Bank clients. Salaries were not that high, and this allowance was also just around one hundred fifty rupees a month. Soon, some bank client family was invited for a lunch, and taking your guests to restaurants was not considered decent in those days. So now my mother had to prepare food, but she had a very serious dilemma. The bank allowance was for bank clients, but she and her husband will be sitting at that table too, eating the same food. She reached out to one of her teachers, who was also the wife of another senior banker colleague of my father. She gave a solution, which she may have been practising herself. She told my mother to prepare one or two dishes with her own money and then put everything on the table. Now food will be shared, and you will be able to eat food prepared with bank money too. That was the level of caution when using government resources, not centuries ago, as I am talking about the mid-seventies.

I know someone personally who was working in an international organisation, and his duty station was in Islamabad while his family lived in Lahore. He used to commute weekly between these two cities. In more than ten years, there were many official engagements in Lahore for which he had the legal right to get travel and daily allowances. As it was an international organisation, he could have made thousands of dollars as extra income if he had just exercised his legal right. But he never claimed it once, as he told me that he felt it was a conflict of interest because his family was in Lahore.

I met my teacher and thesis supervisor after many years at a conference. I invited her to dinner, and when I tried to pay the bill, she stopped me. She was working for a big...

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