The Day The State Split Asunder-3
The Day The State Split Asunder-310 mins 371 10 mins 371
It is almost an hour after the sunrise, and the sky today looked clearer than crystal after three days of heavy downpours. Astonishingly, he rose early, stretching his limbs, rubbing his eyes, yawning loudly, letting out an enormous sigh of relief as if he came back alive after fighting a battle.
Remnants of awful nightmares of past interview experiences are still lingering in his mind. A chill of apprehension ran down his spine, marked by anxious uneasiness, worried whether the same vinegary experience would weigh down heavily on him today.
With little weight in his footsteps, he gently lumbered into the washroom, washed his face, brushed his teeth, picked up the towel, unwashed for a long time. Despite the stinky smell, he still resolved to use it.
Ten minutes later, he emerged from the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. He headed directly towards the cupboard and pulled on the black pants and sky blue shirt. Slipping it on, he adjusted the sleeves and cuff-links and smiled, looking at his reflection on the mirror while tucking his shirt into his trousers.
Minutes later, he opened his laptop and started listening to the devotional songs which were his usual routine before going to the interview. The music flooded the entire room with good vibes.
He picked up the resume from his messy desk and started going through it to ensure there are no discrepancies and errors. However, his eyes fixed at one particular point, the marital status field in the personal details section.
If Rakesh uncle's son Rithwik applies for a job, his marital status will not be single anymore. Until I earn a six-figure salary per month, this field will remain single.
He racked two copies of resume, mark sheets, two passport size photographs, Pan card, passport, and other achievement certificates in his leather case file and put it inside his backpack and walked into the hall.
At one face of the wall in the hallway, there is a portrait of Lord Shiva with a plastic garland hooked to it. He approached the photo, closed his eyes, folded his hands in a devoted style, and started praying aloud in a tone, just a few decibels below a scream.
"O Lord of the world, Shiva! Many say you listen to the prayers of your devotees and fulfil their desires. It is your responsibility to make sure I don't hit the half-century of my interviews. I have been praying to you since the day of my graduation, you gave the job to those who secured a lower percentage than me, you even gave the job to that guy who has backlogs. I didn't maintain even a single backlog in my entire student life. Why are you so impartial towards me? Today it's time for you to open your third eye and help me get out of this mess. I can't carry this burden of interviews anymore…"
His parents rushed to the hall, leaving everything behind flabbergasted by this kind of eccentric prayer. As he opened his eyes after reciting his prayer, he saw his mother and father standing exactly beside him with an eerie frown on their faces.
"Have you gone mad? If he opens the third eye, the result would be apocalyptic. It will reduce everyone to ashes." said his mother.
"Is it!" said Karthik. "I thought he grants boons to his devotees through a third eye. I will change it."
"This is the problem with you, you over imagine things," remarked his father. "If you don't know, admit it, there's nothing wrong in it and also listen to the question properly before answering."
"Yes dad, this time I will not rush."
He glanced at his wristwatch. The time is 07:30, the reporting time is 10:00. The office is located twenty kilometres from his home and commuting through public transport is not less than the work of a Hercules, owing to the peak hours.
"Amma! I need to leave. The hi-tech city is not within a stone's throw. The journey itself will consume one hour. I need to catch the 08:00 AM bus to reach the venue on time." said Karthik, picking up his backpack on the couch.
"Have some breakfast first."
"Sorry, amma! I have no time. I will have it later. Bye!"
"All the best! And don't get jittery. Have your lunch outside in case it gets delayed. Don't starve yourself."
"Ok, Amma Bye!"
After having said that he stepped out with his backpack slinging on his right shoulder. The slippery murky roads, open manholes, and uprooted trees slowed down his movements, as one wrong manoeuvre can lead to dire consequences. The usual five minutes walk to the bus stop consumed fifteen minutes today.
As he reached the bus stop, he tried looking at the bus route timings on the information board. It was crowded with coloured posters of movies with an actress dressed in a pink T-shirt showing cleavage, and there is another poster depicting the intense lip-lock.
People can go to any extent to make profits, they have degraded women and obscenely portrayed them. Such posters corrupt the youth, ruining their future.
Next to the bus stop, there is a small crude shelter with a tarpaulin roof under which an insane man in his mid-sixties was pulling off the leaves from the saplings nearby. It touched his heart with compassion, looking at the pathetic condition of the homeless person.
If I get a job today, I will provide food and water to him tonight.
Opposite to the bus stop on the other side of the road, there is a bank with a large outer signboard engraved with the name 'Andhra Bank' in Purple colour with a golden yellow background. A group of fifty people dressed in black T-shirts raising slogans 'Jai… Telangana… Jai… Telangana…' applied black paint over the entire signboard. The reason being the name 'Andhra' on the billboard. Few of them were pasting stickers on the number plates of the vehicles with names 'A' and 'P' replaced with 'T' and 'G'.
To his surprise, the APSRTC buses which have a reputation for never adhering to the timings arrived early with a loud horn and stopped exactly in front of the bus stop. The number of passengers standing on the bus surpassed the capacity of the bus. Young people, mostly college students, are standing precariously at the doorway in dangerous positions, making it difficult to board and de-board. He struggled to get inside but successfully forced himself into it and purchased a ticket to the hi-tech city.
Bus travel in the city has become a fun activity for him. There are always youngsters flagrantly sitting on the seats reserved for senior citizens, and young, sturdy fellows sitting on seats reserved for the handicapped. Then there are hefty men occupying seats reserved for women. Most times, the conductors yell at passengers if they cannot tender the exact change in return for a ticket.
Meandering through the wild Hyderabad traffic for about sixty minutes, his bus reached the hi-tech city bus stop. He got down and with the help of Google maps he reached the venue thirty minutes before the scheduled reporting time.
The office building looked extravagant with its gigantic pyramidal structure embellished with glass windows. The security guard scanned his baggage, which comprised nothing but a bunch of resumes. After completing the checks, the guard gave him a temporary identity card with Karthik's name handwritten on it.
Taking a deep breath, he walked into the building. As he entered, the aroma of rose perfume and jasmine essence in the hallway welcomed him. At the centre of one face of the walls, there is a poster with a quote - "Think you are and you are halfway there".
He scanned around looking for the information board, but nothing came across, except a chubby blond woman at the reception desk. To conceal his nervousness, he tried to affect an air of jaunty composure. He approached the receptionist's desk to enquire about the ZenWings office.
"Good morning mam!"
"Good morning, sir," she said with a nod and a smile. "How can I help you?"
"Can you tell me where ZenWing's office is?"
"It's on the second floor, sir."
"Thank you, mam."
He walked upstairs, reached the second floor, and the office was straight in front of him. The attendant of the company let him in after checking his id card and the interview call letter. He then escorted him to the waiting hall.
Karthik sat in his seat comfortably. There's absolute dead silence inside. He looked around, but no one intercepted his screen of radar. He was the only one present in the room.
Opposite to him, there is a glass-fronted bookshelf with several books arrayed in random order. His eyes focused only on one book among the hundreds of books. The book is in orange with only one side of its edge visible. He stood up and firmly walked up straight towards the shelf. He tried to take in the book's title. It is 'The Alchemist'.
"What a wonderful name!" he whispered to himself. He scanned through all the books on the shelf and retired back to his seat.
"Karthik, please come in with your resume," said the person wearing a blue jerkin. "Madam is calling you."
Karthik instantaneously sprang up from his seat just like a spring released after the compression. He greeted the person with a nervous nod and a smile, unzipped his bag and picked a resume from his leather case file.
Karthik approached the HR cabin, opened it gently, and stood at the entrance gripping the handlebar, awaiting permission from the HR. The HR gestured with her hands to get in. He let out a nervous sigh and stood near the desk with a pounding heart and stomach full of butterflies.
"Take the seat," she said, gazing at him, while her brows furrowed. She wore a dazzling red sari. Her face looked fair with wrinkles here and there.
"Your name?" she asked in a deep accent, powerful enough to startle a person.
"Good morning mam, My name is Karthik Oleti."
"So Mr Karthik. How was your day so far?"
"Give me your resume."
He handed over his resume to her. HR started going through the resume and started the interview process.
"Mr Karthik Oleti, thank you for being here, I am Priya, the recruitment manager of ZenWings IT solutions. Why don't we start this interview by introducing yourself?"
The interview went on for forty-five minutes. She asked him questions regarding his strengths, weaknesses, aptitude, and reasoning questions. After forty-five minutes, she told him to wait in the hall.
He deliberately wended his way back to the waiting hall. At one point he was optimistic and at another point, there was a premonition that history would repeat. One hour passed, and he got so fidgety that he couldn't wait that long, and around twelve-thirty he arbitrarily walked downstairs. Incisively at the same point in time, HR Priya walked into the waiting hall.
"Mr Karthik, please come in," she said.
Karthik followed her to the cabin, grabbed the chair, and comfortably placed himself on the seat in an attentive posture.
"Karthik!" said Priya. "We shortlisted you for the role of Software Design Engineer. You need to work at our development centre in Bangalore. Since you are single, it shouldn't be a problem for you to move to Bangalore. Are you ready with it?"
"Yes, mam Absolutely!" he said in a cheering tone.
"Well, then you need to report to our Bangalore office by next Monday along with identity proofs and certificates."
"I will join for sure, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I am obliged towards your organization for giving me the space to start my career."
He collected the offer letter from her with alacrity and began his journey back home. He has been buzzing for this moment for a long time and today he is over the moon. His joy knew no bounds. He wanted to jump, shout, and celebrate on the spot. Finally, today God has listened to his prayers.
Finally, I can shut the mouths of my neighbours. And this time I can give a new answer to Narasimha uncle's question, 'What's next?'
To be continued...