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Interviews and Dreams

Interviews and Dreams

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 Jan 2019 5:55 AM GMT

Arunav Barua

“Let us take an auto-rickshaw Rehan; that would be faster.”

“Are you crazy, Kamli? We can walk down there as it’s just a couple of kilometers away.”

“Well, for your kind information; its three kilometers away and that’s certainly not walk worthy.”

“Stop doing that!”

“Doing what?”

“Making or inventing phrases.”

“What did I invent, Rehan?”

“For the life of me, I don’t remember that phrase-‘walk worthy’ before, ever!”

“That’s my gifted thinking mind that has come up with that phrase and now that I think, be ready for more.”

“Kamli, I just hope that you can come up with more of those for the interview. It would stand you on good stead to do that, you know?”

“I hope so too…”

It was perhaps hoped that was more a feature of the two young dream clad boys than anything else that marked that morning in Bangalore. The two were finally ready to give their first interview and it needed a lot of that. That thing we all need sometimes. Hope.

An auto was seen by Kamli, ever anxious not to walk the three kilometers to Convergys, who proceeded to whistle a loud blaring whistle, not the kind you can bracket in the decent category. The auto-wallah seemed to have heard it for it made a U-Turn and rode up to where the boys were standing with a bag slung over Kamli’s shoulder which held both the boy’s certificates and resumes. Kamli was the safer choice to carry the bag, as both agreed that it was more precious than anything that they had had the fortune of carrying in quite a while. The two proceeded to make themselves comfortable in the auto as best as they could and in a while they reached Convergys, their destination.

“Rehan, how do we go in? I mean, how do we proceed, or should I say ‘What now’?”

“Well, we just walk in. That’s what they are called aren’t they? Walk-Ins, Kamli. I would assume that it literally means that you walk in and give the interview.”

“I just hope that you are right, because I wouldn’t want to be thrown out, or should I say; royally exited.”

“Though nervous by then, the two managed a smile when they remembered their rendezvous at Level road, the Barrista outlet…”

After paying off the auto a princely sum of 10 rupees which was the minimum fare that you had to pay Bangalore autos, they took their bag and walked in into Convergys. A glass façade that was 8 floors in height and splendid architecture that boasted of western design, more American than European, they walked up the few steps to the entrance on the ground level. As they entered, they saw that the light had somehow filtered in, making the inside of the room or hall that they were in actually brighter than the outdoors.

“What are you doing, Rehan?”

Rehan was silent for he had his eyes closed and was mumbling something, alarming Kamli and then it hit Kamli…

“Oh! Can you say a little prayer for me too, to Sankardeva? Tell him that I liked his ‘Tumi Sitto Briti muro…’ and that I even sang along. In the meantime, Rehan, try and say ‘Nammo Jinnanam’ when you end the prayer. Believe me, it would help.”

Arihant opened his eyes and looked at Kamlesh, and the two of them realized that this moment, this very hour held magnanimous importance in their lives and it struck both as only appropriate that they should begin with silent prayers. A prayer that upheld the norms of a Hindu, Vaishnav Arihant and a Jain Kamlesh. Neither knew the strength that the prayer held as it had not dawned upon the two yet that things happen for a reason and that the two of them were together, there at that hour at that place, waiting to get selected for their first interviews all for a reason…

“Excuse me, could you help us, please?” That was Rehan, trying to sound as amicable as he could to the lady in a short dress sitting on a table with a glass cover where you could see through the glass and that is what they noticed first, the dress. At once, Rehan looked at Kamli to see if he was making it too obvious and finding his pal beaming with a smile on his face that could pass as a well-intentioned attempt at pleasantness, he was relieved.

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“We are freshers and we had read in The Times that there was a walk-in being held here for graduates. We…we wanted to apply.”

“Yes, we are having interviews for freshers. Have you brought your C/V’s?

“Yes, we have.” Kamlesh took his chance to put in a word to a girl who seemed to him a paragon of beauty.

“Can I have them, please?”

It took Kamlesh a couple of minutes to fish out the two C/V’s from their bag and at once he held out the two documents with two passport size photos plastered on the introductory page. The front-office lady took them and scanned their copies for information.

“So you are A…Arihant?”

“Yes, I am.”

“And you…ah, you are Kamlesh.”

“Yes, that is who I am.”

Arihant gave Kamlesh a strange look because Kamli had decided to use a sentence that was not in his common parlance. Kamlesh looked right back and Rehan realized that he would claim that phrase to his thinking mind, but it remained in his mind… ‘That is who I am’.

“Well, your C/V’s looks alright as both of you are graduates, but I have to ask you some screening questions. Is that ok?”

“Go right ahead.” Kamli again…

“Do you speak or converse in English well?”

“Yes, we do.”

“Have you appeared for any other interview before this?”

“No, we haven’t.”

“Are you both ok doing night shifts?”

The two looked at each other and nodded.

“Yes, we are…”

Night shifts would be a new venture for both and the two knew that if they had to work late nights, they could and would.

“You may proceed to Room 13, which is to your right as you follow that corridor and wait in the desks for your written test. If you clear the written test, you would be called for a general interview, after which is the HR interview and then, if you clear all three rounds, you will have a final round of interview with the manager of your process and picked for a process that best suits your capabilities. Is that clear?”

“Yes, it is.” By now Rehan realized that Kamli had a side to him which he had not realized earlier, because when it got to things that matter, Kamli had it in him to come through…

“There are around 50 desks in this room.”

“Yes, Rehan, there are…”

“Only around ten seem empty.”

“Hmmm”

“Should we sit together…remember we had those combined study sessions in Shillong, we could pit our strengths and erase our weaknesses. That is what you had said, remember?”

“Let’s sit together, then!”

As the two found out, they had no chances of pitting strengths and erasing weaknesses as the paper was engrossing and held their attention.

Individual attention.

After solving questions on fields that ranged from grammar to math, to vocabulary and sentence correction, to basic questions that they managed to answer, their papers were collected from them and they realized that both of them were smiling.

“It was an easy paper.”

“I agree.”

The two were then informed to come back after two hours to the front desk where they would be informed whether they had flunked, or for that matter, passed their exams. Both hoped that it would be the latter…

“Let us go and have some tea.”

“Rehan, can we have a coffee please?”

“No, coffee does strange things to you and I wouldn’t want to encourage one of your random thinking sessions.”

“Please…?”

“Aw, Alright!”

So the two searched for a coffee outlet nearby and located one right outside the Convergys campus. It was a shed-like tarpaulin covered stall where you could have cups of coffee costing five rupees a cup.

They ordered coffee and then they saw that it sold dosas too and they ordered two ‘set dosas’ as both had become familiar with the kind of food the South provided, especially the varieties of ‘Dosa’. They were both hungry as hell, if one might use the term.

“Do you think we will get through, Rehan?”

“Hell, I think so!”

“Me too!” Kamli, sounding meek though optimistic of his chances, reiterated.

Two hours later, they found themselves facing the girl in the glass table top again.

“Hi…uh, we are Kamlesh and Arihant and would like to know if we have cleared the written test.”

“Ummm…let me see, yes your name is right here, Arihant, and your number is 7, you are number seven for the general interview.”

Arihant looked unfazed by that bit of information as he kept looking for something on the table top list of successful candidates. Kamlesh realized that it was his name that Rehan was searching for and he also understood that they had become more than friends now. They had become brothers. A while later, the girl in the short skirt smiled at Kamli and said, “Hey, your name is here too. Kamlesh Chattragotha, right?”

Both Kamli and Arihant realized that they had managed to clear the first and the most important part of any interview. The first round, the written round…

“Could you wait in Room 13 again? Both of you will be called for the interview rounds individually. Mr. Chattragotha, your number is 10.”

“Thank you…ma’am.”…was the best Kamlesh could manage for the lady on whom he felt he had a crush and hoped that Arihant would not infer as much...

They shook hands when they found themselves alone in the corridor leading to room 13 and as they entered the room they had gargantuan smiles plastered on their still young, still handsome faces. The room was filled with 15 other candidates and they realised that of the 50 that had appeared for the written round, only around 20 had made it through to the next round, thus increasing the degree of importance of their having cleared that round.

“It was the prayer, Rehan.”

“Well, that must have helped.”

“Hey, have you ever wondered what it would have been like if Sankardev had met Mahavira and the two had had a conversation?”

Rehan smiled for he loved those moments when Kamli came up with such interesting bits of creativity.

“I think it would have been a conversation that would have been historic in its implication and I believe the two would have had a lot of notes to exchange.”

“Yes, it would, wouldn’t it? Also, they did come together for us, at least in the first round.”

Without having realized it, five candidates had already been interviewed. It seemed like they were asked one or two questions and both understood that this was a screening round and if you faltered in the first two questions, you were asked to leave. They hoped they would make it through. When number six went in, both of them stopped for a moment. Next in was Arihant.

“Number SEVEN.”

They heard the seven pronounced in a baritone and it remained as caps in their minds. After what seemed an inordinately long time, Arihant walked in. He was smiling again and Kamlesh could guess that he had done relatively well. By the time Kamlesh’s turn came, they had discussed the questions asked and Kamli seemed prepared to Arihant

“You have both been selected for the HR round.”

When the glass table top girl told them that, they looked quietly at each other and realized that perhaps Sankardeva and Mahavira had held hands to see them through what was insurmountable for them. The HR round went relatively well, where they were asked questions to the tune of; “Tell us something about yourself.” And “Where do you see yourself five years from now.” They knew that they were in business when they were called a final time for some information to the glass table topped girl’s lair…

“You have both made it to our final round. Our managers will be interviewing you for process knowledge and a bit of technical know-how. Kindly be seated with the others and wait for your name to be called.

They understood that they had almost made it through as now they were not numbers anymore.

Their names would be called…

Perhaps somewhere in some distant dimension, both Sankardeva and Mahavira were smiling, perhaps even amused…

Feedback: arunav_barua@yahoo.com

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