Hadi died last week. Hadi was a consultant. A rare good one at that. When I took charge in my office eight months ago, he came to my room one day, and discussed about few things and exclaimed, 'Sir, I have not seen any young officer with so much knowledge in this area.' I took the complement with a pinch of salt, considering it one of those regular buttering tactic to woo a new officer.
Somehow, that lean middle aged, mulla-beard consultant stood above others. My encounters with him were educational. His earthen understanding of international trade and finance was something that was rare to come by. He had dabbled in currency markets before it became fashionable. He had tried international business himself, and had partially succeeded. He told me once that he had tucked away a neat sum from him currency gambles. He understood the IS-LM model of economy, as well as the international supply chain of chor bazaars of India. He had educated himself along the way. He loved books. Probably because his desire to acquire higher education was stifled by the burden of his responsibilities. He was fond of me, for some unknown reasons, and I saw that he made it a point to budget away some time for me, for idle discussions, whenever he came to my office. I too ensured that I keep away few minutes, whenever he stepped in.
He would come unannounced to my office, without an appointment, discuss few things, give some information, and vanish. Not to be seen for some more days. Before vanishing for the last time, he told me that he would give me some books on international finance that he found good. He didn't come for few days, and I heard that he had cancer. One fine morning, I got a call from him, on my office phone, and he sounded weak.
I wanted to go and meet him. I planned, and procrastinated. I discussed it with my senior, who too wanted to go and meet him. Hadi avoided meeting people in his last days.
One afternoon, I got the news that he had passed away on the previous day. His funeral was over the same morning. The news of cancer to death took less than 3 months. The bubbly Hadi was no more. I felt miserable that I didn't see him one last time.
I still meet consultants, who want to appear as experts, but they don't hold a candle to what Hadi was. He was 49 when he died. He started his career at 19, and learnt the trade by dabbling in it. The earthiness of such acquired knowledge has its own attraction, which sophisticated degrees cannot confer. I wish I had his company longer. May his soul rest in peace.