This winter when I was at home, some very “caring” uncles and aunties did so well to remind me that next year I will have to sit for my placement interviews. I have always had a rather dim view for these uncles and aunties who always come across with supremely irritating “been there, seen that, done that" attitude. No matter how much you have slogged for engineering they know more about engineering colleges than you do. No matter how many foreign trips you have been to, they will always know about USA more than you even if their impeccable knowledge tells them that Bill Clinton still rules Amreeka and with it the world. They are more eager to have me placed than me or even my Dad who incidentally doesn’t want me to sit for interviews instead goading me to go for higher studies. Apparently he has no problems whatsoever with further continuation of my worthless ways.
The mention of “interviews” brings back memories of the first two interviews I gave in my life.
First was one when I was in class VI for RIMC (Rashtryia Indian Military College). And the next was when I was in class VII for my school(Bishop Westcott Boys' School, Ranchi) . I was naive, a bit innocent, a bit ignorant and above all was totally unfamiliar with what actually an interview is. Looking back I always wish that I could rekindle that bit of innocence and ignorance in my present life as well, but I realise that I have got a bit more familiar with the worldly ways which do not permit such kinds of sweet indulgences or else the term nostalgia will cease to exist.
The first one was for admission to RIMC. I was in class VI and given earlier the written for it and then was to appear for the interview. I knew nothing about the interview courtesies and the only one I extended to the board members was a curt “May I come in”. To which I was replied, “Yes please and take your seat.”
I was not sure whether it was morning or noon, so I didn’t wish them on that front either. Anyways from their expressions it was evident that morning or noon it was not going all that good for them. Moreover in front of six army officer who quite possibly pride themselves on the matters of decorum and discipline, my lack of perceptible manners must have been quite a sacrilege. Anyways they apparently did not lack them, so they did offer me a seat. I took it without saying even thanks to them. Well, I did not know that one ought to do that. Well, I had never thanked even my parents for anything in my life. Simply I have never felt any need to do so. And I quite simply reasoned again that I didn’t need to do so for these rather dangerous looking people either. So in the end I simply sat. May be they did not expect such behaviour and I could see some brows rising. Anyways they decided to continue.
“ So Mr. Sumit,..which school do you come from ?”
Now, when this happened, the school I was studying in did not give me the papers stating that I was a bonafide student of that school which was essential to appear for the RIMC examination. The reasons for such largesse shown by one of my alma mater, I cannot really recall at the moment. So I assume that being a very good student they were rather “reluctant” to let me slip out of their hands...... Just kidding, actually.
So my Dad had arranged me to fill the form from a governmental school in the locality using a bit of his influence. That, strictly speaking, was a bit illegal. But what was more troublesome for me , I was going to realise in a few moments into the interview hall.
“Sir the name of my school is “Rajkiya Rajpoot Madhyamik Vidyalaya.”
“But, Mr. Sumit the form we have in our hands says something different...It is....”
But before he could continue , my already racing mind was fast searching for an reason to this anomaly. I had still not realized the deep s**t I had landed myself in. And I figured that maybe my Dad had finally arranged a certificate from my school, my genuine one that is. So I promptly interrupted him while he was pronouncing my death sentence as I realized later.
“Sir, Sir please wait a moment. In that case the name of my school happens to be Rose Public School.”
Well, the look he gave me was as if I had slapped him once and asked him to present his other cheek in accordance to the Gandhian principle.
“I beg to differ Mr. Das. In that case, I think, we should proceed further without inquiring whether you suffer from Alzheimer at this very young age.” He taunted in a voice as if I had asked for his daughter’s hand for marriage.
Everybody other than me guffawed out loud at this pathetic joke. Maybe I would have also done so if I had known what Alzheimer is .
“So, Mr. Das, which district does the school you study in falls in? Well, either of your two schools will do.” The other member asked in a same voice as of his colleague.
I don’t intend to marry twice you Idiots.
“Sir , Madhubani.”
“So what is your place known for?”
“Sir, I think Madhubani Paintings.”
“So, can you please name some of the famous painters for us?”
I thought hard, but could not recall any. It was only later that I came to know that there are so many that even if I could come up with names like Ganga Devi, Yamuna Devi, Saraswati Devi, Kaveri Devi, Gandak Devi or even Budhi Gandak Devi, everything would have passed muster.
“Anyways , Mr. Das what do you want to become when you grow up?”
“Sir, I want to be a cricket player.”
Now, you go to the entrance interview for a military school and you say that you want to be a cricket player instead of a Major or a Lieutenant , there are high chances that they will give you such a kick up your backside that you will land straight into a cricket academy. But they were civilised people, much more than what I was and thus held themselves back. Maybe they would have done well had they done so.
“Ok, Mr.Das, what is your favorite sport.”
In my opinion, they gave themselves away with this. They were basically a stupid bunch of people who were sent to conduct an interview coz Indian Army had no apparent use for them. It is not much good asking David Bekham his favorite sport, is it?
“Sir, it is cricket.” I replied.
“So can you please tell me where are third man and long on stationed in a cricket match?”
Finally I was able to give a correct answer in the interview. They did not ask me my name or else that count could have gone up, but that was not to be. At this point , they were sufficiently fed up and asked me to leave . They did not forget to add “It was a pleasure meeting you Mr.Das.” Obviously it was more false a declaration than Bush saying there are WMDs in Iraq.
After a farce like that, expecting an admission was akin to asking out Katrina Kaif and not having being thrashed by Salman. So I did not even bother checking the results. So finally I didn't even care at the last. Good riddance was the only feeling that surged through me.