‘Dilettante’…an Interesting Noun…Oxford Dictionary meaning is ‘ a person who dabbles in a subject for enjoyment’ and is pronounced ‘di-li-tan-tay’
A New Book,‘Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America’ by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr reveals that famous author,Ernest Hemingway was a ‘dilettante spy’ for awhile.This revelation is based on the notes of Alexander Vassiliev,a former KGB Officer
Hemingway was recruited in 1941 by the KGB and even went on the sly to China under the name ‘Argo’
However,Hemingway’s Information was pretty ordinary and KGB stopped contacting him by 1951
Whether Hemingway was genuinely keen on becoming a Spy or whether he was just collecting data for a Book is left to conjecture
Reminds me of the 1990s…A close friend and also client at the time had referred me to a very Senior Russian Diplomat in Mumbai as the latter was keen to meet me…I had wondered why then !…he preferred to meet outside the Office and he chose the restaurant ‘Caravan’ for lunch.It was housed in the Sterling Cinema Complex in the Business District of Fort in South Mumbai…It no longer exists now…another famous restaurant,Royal China ,is now housed there….I remember that the Russian Diplomat had paid for the Lunch ! After all he had Invited ! That was the only time I have met him…Cannot even remember his name or how he looked !..was nearly 20 years ago !….Well what did he want ! ?….Information on People in High Places in Business and Government….what were they talking about on business,projects etc…was he trying to recruit me !? I don’t know…suppose he really was testing me out whether my network did include People in High Places !…I remember how I had fenced him off,by commenting how lovely the Lunch was ! and that the client had exaggerated !…It was an amusing incident though ! will remember it always !
Love James Bond and Love Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible Series…so it was an intriguing thought when I read about Ernest Hemingway being a ‘dilettante spy’ ! ,that I too had a chance to go this route !…It would not have been worth it though ! and thank God the Russian Diplomat too must have thought I was not worth pursuing !…he would have saved himself Lunch Money if he had visited my office instead…he would not have missed the deep sense and signs of Patriotism….with the Indian Flag proudly displayed in more than one place and Indian Gods all around keeping a protective eye and showering their Blessings
But I can tell you this….Top Universities and Colleges all around the World are hot recruiting grounds by the Top Spy Agencies…and Espionage is not all ‘James Bond’ !
Just thinking aloud….It’s somewhat akin to Insider Trading in our Markets !…you’re damn tempted for the Easy Money and the Glamour and Excitement that accompanies it…but let me tell you it’s not worth it in the end !….Espionage and Insider Trading….Both illegal…both dangerous…both ill-gotten wealth…both treacherous as you could be betrayed and manipulated by those who you even trust !……. know many of you will tend to disagree !…and you can call me a ‘dilettante philospher’!