Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Ordeal Journey in which the destination did not matter much……..

Without much of hopes or expectations, I stepped out of an useless engineering college that gave me nothing except the 5 letter suffix to my name(B.Tech), I had no engineering ambitions and I had never wanted to be an engineer. My heart was else where….. However, I did succumb to the external pressure and indulged in a full fledged job hunt. I have no regrets while calling it the most frustrating episode of my life. Agarwal and George summers were firmly refusing to become friends with me. Peers in the name of friends kept visiting my home with boxes of sweets and a copy of their offer letters. I found it equally funny and irritating. Some people just suck with their attitude. I, on the other hand was trying to do everything to make it work…. But, all in vain…..why should I even care about what probability does Tina have in getting a white ball from a bag containing 4 colors of balls...for some reason I found the whole process stupid and un interesting, But kept telling myself that I have to go through the same shit if I had to earn the so called “respect” as an engineering graduate...I was almost giving up, when a company was kind enough to inform me that I had cleared their written test... I said to myself….. “first hurdle crossed”, I never realized that the worse was yet to come - the call for a technical interview... with the confidence of clearing the first hurdle happily sitting on my shoulders, I tried to cram as much as C, java, oops, networking ,tcp/ip, mobile communication..…and what not, in just one day. The interview was to happen in Anna university...my beloved father dropped me at the entrance of the university on the interview day... All that he said was “Do well”, I smiled, said “ok” and left...while I was just about to enter the hall..I heard a voice crying behind me "Kalai”, I turned to look at my father panting miserably and said "thirumba veetukku vara panam irukka illaya…adhan kudukka vandhen….” the words caught between his breaths and thrust a 100 rupees note into my hands. That moment… I felt so weak....my heart went out to that man who had sacrificed loads of things in his life for his daughter, a man who adores his daughter...and I said to myself "No matter what…..I’ll make it for him”...honestly I did not remember a word …..my mind was blank…...all that I thought was “I’ll make it for my father” ..It was my turn to give back something to him to make him feel proud and happy….... I was called in ...There was just one man sitting inside who acknowledged my entry with a broad grin, whose half bald head and bulging spectacles spoke volumes about his technical expertise...I was equally apprehensive and confident...I smiled back...an honest one at that...I tried to be as frank and straight as possible….It was an ordeal… I tried to stay calm , I firmly said "I don’t know" to questions for which I did not know the answers.. Fortunately/unfortunately I had to use that phrase a number of times.... At the end of it all….there was this final question... "how confident are you about clearing the interview?”...that was quiet a question to answer...for the first time,I did not know what to say. I stuck to my honesty and said... "30 /100" and quietly walked out of the hall. I was asked to wait in a room ,which I did, with no hopes. I was pointlessly staring at the ceiling and the ground and when I almost decided to leave….an old man walked in and said “ unga paer thaan kalai arasi a?” I said “Yes” …. “ungala keezha interviewkkaga koopidraanga” ….. I quietly thought about my dad . ;-) (The smiley at this juncture is unavoidable)and started climbing down the stairs. The HR interview was nothing more than an array of not so important questions....answering them required some common sense...which I had always believed was an integral part of me ;-)....All through the 30 minutes of the interview...my eyes were time and again trying to read the contets of the sheets my interviewer was flipping through, I assumed that those sheets were my performance reports, score cards.., bla bla.. I was super curious to know the feed back that my technical interviewer would have given…My curiosity got the better off me and I went ahead to ask “how was my performance in the technical interview”…. The HR smiled, laughed aloud and showed me the sheet in question. I was hardly able to follow anything , Thanks to his legible handwriting….However…with some effor, I was able to follow the last line …“Confident, good communication skills …trainable”…. I thanked the HR guy and left the hall… very quietly, from the bottom of my heart I expressed my gratitude to Mr.Technical man. After having kuppai kottified for about 3.5 yrs in this organization, I still have no clue about the name or the division he belongs/belonged to, or anything about him….But for some reason…I keep thinking about him time and again…..
Not that I wouldn’t have managed to clear other interviews…… but this remains special simply because I did not pretend to know everything….I did not cover up things that I really did not know.. It was plain honesty…

I rushed to a nearby telephone booth, dialed my home number and jus said…”Appa, the interview went on well…I’ll have an offer letter too”….I am really not sure if he was proud of me…But…I felt proud of my father…… and now, after years of joining this company….I am really not sure if it was all worth it.