Over the next few paragraphs, I endeavour to take you through one of the most mortifying experiences in my life , which should give you guys insurmountable pleasure. So sit back, grab yourself a drink cause I have a feeling you are going to relish this.
It was Friday the 12th of March, and I was awoken from my evening snooze, by the unmistakable hoarse voice of Vanessa (Actual name, quite unpronounceable), my placement advisor . Amongst her many attributes is her ability , to change her cell number every week (Hey! I’m on hutch now) not counting the number of times she loses her phone itself. This when combined with her promptness in returning calls (not less than a month) all adding up to make her about as approachable as the Queen. Coming to the organization, whose identity I can’t disclose for obvious reasons, I want you to imagine a respectable Multi national type of organization offering jobs in different countries all over the world, with a wide diversity of job roles . They also are one of the few organizations which offer offer cross over jobs ..as in (Tech to Mgmt).
Any way, she obviously decided that one day’s notice was more than enough for me, and I was told that my interview was the next day at 5 O’clock at Anna Nagar, a good 45 minutes from my house. The D-Day came (Surprisgly soon) and an exhausting auto journey, an altercation with my brother and a bewildering location hunt later, I made it to the interview site quite surprisingly on time.
The office building seemed quite impressive, and when I was directed to the top floor, I thought I could expect a comfortable corporate style Air-conditioned office. To put it mildly, I thought wrong! The interview, was being conducted on the terrace (which must be a first) and I was introduced to a man named Yousuf (name changed on request), A humble self effacing chap who very modestly voluntarily told me that he was the president of the organization and soothingly added that my interview might be delayed. The interview was going on inside, the panel apparently consisted of 6 people from 6 different countries (Korea, India, Bolivia, Columbia, Hong Kong, Lithuania) apparently chaired by an experienced recruiter re known for his STRESS interviews. I was motioned to wait outside, in the terrace I might add, in the sweltering Chennai Heat!!
An hour or so of melting in the terrace later, I decided to take a look into the interview room, to figure out what exactly the situation was. The previous interview was over, And the panelists were now blissfully sipping coffee and evidently pleasuring themselves.
By now, to quote Navjoth Singh siddhu ,” I had lost my marbles”.
“The ides of March, had truly set in.”
So, I gestured to Yousuf , that it was getting late besides, I was also losing weight standing outside. Some time later, He came out giving an explanation as to how this particular organization, had a history of respecting people’s time and that this wasn’t an organization that just got you a job abroad.
I didn’t quite understand, that last sentence of his, I’m sure you don’t as well. But anyway, I wasn’t given a chance to find out what this organization actually did, as I was summoned inside.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRES
To describe the setting, the room was quite a small one and inside bunched in like a pack of sardines was an eclectic group of 6, all seemingly piling onto one another. I got the subtle feeling that they had a certain anticipatory grin about them, like when a pack of vultures identify a fresh dead carcass..
The man, in the centre (Indian) introduced himself, which led to 5 more introductions , not to mention my hand feeling a little sore. “BUD DYA JIKE DU HAV SHOM BISHKEY”, the Korean had decided to announce himself. Unfortunately, he had to do so several times more, until finally the Indian took over and explained that he was asking me, if I wanted to have any biscuits. Not to far away, from me, A plate of neglected impoverished “Good Day” biscuits were shoved, crumbling that too with one biscuit seemingly half moth eaten. Much to the disapproval of the Korean, I resisted the temptation. “DJU PLEISH JAV SHOME BISHKEYYY, KOPIII”. Ok, the Korean wasn’t giving up easy, and soon enough half of Eastern Europe had also joined in. I was now getting increasingly reminded of the band of “BISCUIT BANDITS” which I had heard were still at large. This was followed by the sudden development, of the Columbian now becoming very very insistent that I take a bite.
Needless to say, My suspicons as regards to the contents of those biscuits had now reached its peak.
Anyway, the columbian finally gave up , and the Indian moved on with the general arbitrary questions, but soon enough he started living up to his “stressing” reputation with the inscrutable expressions of the Korean backing him up.
A snippet of the conversation:
Interviewer: Do you listen to other people’s advice?
Me: Yes. I am a good listener
Interviewer: So, you can’t think on your own
Interviewer: Do you listen to other people’s advice?
Me: No, I trust my own judgment on most things.
Interviewer: Oh! You’re conceited. You don’t value other people’s opinions.
Yes, this was GANG RAPE !! at it’s profound best and it became quite evident to me , that this was a NO WIN situation...
Half an hour through the interview, realization finally dawned upon the Eastern European’s that the cold war had ended 20 years ago, and they decided to albeit regrettably open their mouths. On discerning, I had little intention of coming to within 1000 km of any of their resident countries, they quickly thankfully, reverted back to their “Cold War” status.
It was then, the opportunity of the Columbian, to make the presence of “whatever he was on” felt. He started off, and given his accent and appearance it seemed like he was a “Narco guerilla”, giving me an update of the variety of the stock he was peddling. He went on in great detail, for quite a while until the self appointed translator(Indian) finally discerned that I understood very little of what he was saying.
The Korean, then returned with “ Ip thersih wan reasone, why u dounat tink u will clear dish interview. Wat ish it? “ (If there is one reason, why you don’t think you will clear this interview. What is it?). By then, my Kinglish had improved and I replied that (Pay attention) “It would probably be because, I had a technical background, but was more inclined towards a Management job role”, which actually was quite a corny answer cause, I knew very well that this organization gave out Management oriented job roles to technical people as well. The Korean was'nt done with his sushi , and this was followed by “Cayn dyu Pleaze give ME faive weakneshhes” . He wanted to hear 5 of my WEAKNESSES? I also observed, that almost in perfect unison, All 6 of them removed a note pad to take my weaknesses down.
I was now scanning the room, for all its possible exits. After 45 minutes, the Indian announced that the ordeal was finally over; and also noted that the interview was a pleasure. As I made a dash for the door, I did manage to catch a certain smug satisfied expression on the vulture’s faces.
They had just induldged in a 7 course offering.
I lost way back home…twice! And my mind, seemed peculiarly resistant to response. Everything was a blur... I now knew what Ben stiller felt like in most of his movies. But, even he would have found it difficult to foresee, what was to ensue in the next couple of days.
To be continued….