Once when I was Jobless!
This is one of the memorable incidents in my life; kinda experimental and could be hilarious for the reader.
Those were the days when we were just out of our engineering college still not hired by any of the companies in the job market. For me especially, it was a matter of great embarrassment rather than disappointment to be recognized as just another guy searching for a job and needless to say I was trying very badly to get something to work with. I had grown a huge network of friends by the time I was out from the engineering studies. I was never unknown of any of the recruitment drives that were happening in and around Mumbai and with me were two of my close friends Jicks and Shailesh. We all contacted each other informing about any of the recruitment drives happening in the city.
Internet and newspapers were the prime resources of information for all of us. All we wanted was a job and only a job regardless of the remuneration or work profile.
‘Heck!! We all are engineers yet jobless!’ We thought all the day. Despite having good academic record and educational background all we were were jobless! We started feeling paltry when none of us succeeded in this mission.
One such day, my phone rang. It was Jicks. He seemed to have another news of recruitment ad.
‘Have you read this Neeraj?’ he asked interestingly.
‘Read! Read what?’ I asked
‘About this classified recruitment ad for management trainees at lower parel? They want BEs and MBAs and above all freshers are invited. What say dude?’
That sounded interesting. An opportunity for another attempt or who knows this could be the purpose for which I was born. With no second thoughts I said ‘Okay’ and called Shailesh the very next moment. We called up the number that was printed in the classified soon to be responded by a soft feminine voice that told us to come tomorrow morning along with our CV for an initial interview.
Interviews were no new thing for all of us because we had attended a dozens of them since then. All we wanted was a job that could give us some recognition, a reason to breathe and eat.
The next morning me, Jicks and Shailesh reached the destination and were directed to a small office in a moderately old building. We were greeted by a girl who introduced herself as Tina, the assistant manager of the company. She collected out resumes, marked some circles on it the reason of which is still unclear to me even today.
‘Wait for 10 minutes and I shall get back to you.’ and Tina asked us to wait outside the cabin. We could see her talking to someone over the phone through the glass door. After a few minutes she came out of her cube and asked us to go downstairs to meet the Manager for a small interview. So we went downstairs to meet the manager. To our amazement, the manager was a beautiful lady hardly in her late twenties. Shailesh became kinda nervous when he saw her and his eyes were as if depicting ‘How the hell am I gonna talk to this lady. Am spellbound!’
She was a serious lady and seemed very pragmatic in her actions and language.
‘Are you three friends?’ she asked us
‘Yeah!’ we burst out in chorus and that could be the reason she interviewed us simultaneously. She asked us all those usual interview questions and we sincerely gave our usual answers.
‘Well!’ she said after the interview, ‘Can I see you all for a test tomorrow morning. The test could last the whole day and please make sure you abide with the dress code. Wear a tie when you come! Okay?’
‘What is the test about? How should we prepare for it?’ I asked while leaving. But she refused to tell anything about it.
‘That’s a surprise. You will get to know it tomorrow’ and that was the only response that we received.
That evening we spent our time guessing what would be the test about and what would be the outcome. We thought about Tina and the lady who took our interview. We had our fingers crossed and were praying desperately to get selected.
The next morning I wore my lucky shirt which had proved unlucky till now and reached the same office with Jicks and Shailesh. The environment of the office seemed very different today. There was a loudspeaker that was playing some hindi numbers. We started wondering whether we had reached the same place or not and were relieved when we saw Tina. She gave us a friendly smile and went back to her work. We were still not sure what the company was all about. There were many people sitting in the hall outside Tina’s cabin who seemed to be just other candidates like us.
‘Competitors!’ we thought in our mind.
It was 7:30 AM when we reached there and were told to wait. An hour passed by but we were still unattended. I started a conversation with one of the candidates. My heart sank when I learnt that he was an engineer with a MBA degree. Probably, there were many others with similar qualifications.
The loudspeaker was gradually deafening my ears and sitting on the hard chair was turning me on. By the time I had scanned all the newspapers that were lying before me on the small table. It was 9:45 AM now and suddenly the music stopped and there came a man with a pleasing smile. Following him were some more people who seemed to be professionals of some sort.
‘Good Morning friends!’, the man greeted us as he introduced himself to be working for 4 years with the company. He boasted to have acquired a good deal of experience in oral communications and salesmanship. And today he was a great asset for his company. We literally bit our fingers when he told us that he was just 12th grade passed. He believed that educational qualifications are not of much importance for the candidates they are looking for. That increased my anxiety and the mystery in my mind. I was able to see the enthusiasm on Jicks’s and Shailesh’s faces.
After that long speech, he told us that we need to travel to some place right now. That looked like some fun yet mysterious. Then he started calling the candidates in batches of two in a separate room, introduced them to a couple of people after which they left from the hall. It was Shailesh’s turn now. Keeping his fingers crossed he followed the man into the room where he was introduced to an elderly lady. After few minutes, Shailesh came out of the room with the lady, totally confused of what was happening to him. Speaking no word to me and Jicks, he left the hall with the lady.
Next were me and Jicks. In the room the man introduced us to two girls approximately of our ages. To be more frank, Jicks was introduced to a beautiful girl named Clara and myself to a girl named Sheela. Jicks and me looked at each other’s faces and pondered, then smiled as if we are going to have girlfriends! But to our dismay we were told that they would be our trainers as well as judges for the test that would be conducted today.
Just as the other folks, we came out of the room following Clara and Sheela. We came out of the building and Clara asked us if we had our breakfast as they were going to take us to Marine Lines. We nodded and started walking towards the railway station. On the way we gave them a brief introduction of ourselves and so did they. We could see people staring at beautiful Clara and then to us as we walked down the street. There were several questions haunting our mind now. I tried to ask Clara about the details of the test but she said that it was a surprise.
‘How long will it take?’ Jicks asked
‘I suppose you must be told that it would take a day for the test.’ Sheela replied with a compassionate smile.
That reply made us silent for a few moments. Sheela bought us the tickets and we boarded a train towards Churchgate. Soon we reached Marine Lines. By the time it was noon and Clara suggested that we would have an early lunch before we proceed.
‘Don’t worry guys! I shall pay the bill!’ she said and drove us in a decent restaurant. After the lunch we walked down the streets for almost half an hour to reach Xaveri bazaar which is well known for jewelry shops in Mumbai. And there started our test.
Clara said that she would be taking us to as many shops as possible till 4:00 PM and all we need to do is to see them talk to shopkeepers in selling some privilege card that offered them some discounts.
‘And after 4:00 PM?’ I asked.
‘Then you would imitate us!’ Sheela said.
Now we were getting the clear picture of the job profile. But we wanted to know more and so followed these gals to some shops. We saw some shopkeepers droving us out of their shops, some listening calmly to the explanation and some merely admiring our girls! Three hours passed by and we were fed up of all the thing.
‘This isn’t my job!’ I thought in my mind.
‘Neeraj, no matter what you would think about me but I want to sneak away from this. Right now! I can’t bear this any longer!’ Jicks told me
I smiled back to him as if conveying that you just stole my words. We decided to call Shailesh before and we learnt that the lady had taken him to a market place in Sion. We told him that we are leaving the job as if we had it. Shailesh wanted the same.
‘We don’t want to give this test Clara! We want to be technical guys. This is not for us!’ we said. The girls made several futile attempts to make us stay but we were adamant on our thoughts.
‘Sorry! And thanks for the lunch!’, I said and we left.
When we reached home we wanted to laugh at Shailesh cos’ he seemed to be in a more pathetic situation with the old lady and me and Jicks had the reason to boast for roaming with two beautiful girls on the streets of Mumbai.