I've made a checklist of the colleges in Dehradun offering my subject. Every morning, I punch in the location of the college on google maps and let the GPS guide me to my destination. 'No vacancy', ' just hired' and 'over qualified' are some of the more subtle ways I've been declined.
One morning, as I headed out of the drive way, I cleared my head of all the negative thoughts and reassured myself that there indeed is light at the end of the tunnel. I was heading to yet another college, to ‘try’ my luck. This particular college was located pretty close to our present location and I felt commuting would be no hassle.
As I headed to the reception area, I was greeted by a gentle lady who asked me to drop my resume for future references. Tired of being stalled in the same manner from other colleges, I was adamant to meet the academic director and introduce myself. The academic director was a man in his late fifties or early sixties, had a dignified posture and definitely seemed like a man of great accomplishment (looks are deceiving).
After a brief introduction from both the sides, I sensed as if the conversation was heading somewhere. The salary quoted seemed like I would be ‘working for peanuts’, but I was assured that would be worked out. I also mentioned that we were new in station, due to my husband’s posting. The interview was scheduled in another two weeks which gave me time to prepare myself appropriately.
That evening, as I sat sipping my tea, I was pleasantly surprised by a call from the man I met in the morning. He wanted me to get my testimonials and certificates to his office the next day so they could finalize things and prepare my appointment letter.
It felt like someone had shot me up a rocket and I could barely keep my feet on the ground. To the moon and stars, my next destination… But wait! He added, “get me a pack of axe deodorant, a bottle of coconut oil and a pack of Chyawanprash, the sugarfree one”.
You people know what happened next.
The rocket hit the brakes and I felt as if I was gasping to stay on it. I was crashing back to the ground. I did not understand what just happened. I was out of words.
I said goodbye and hung up the phone. So much so, for the ‘sugar-free Chyawanprash’.
Now that I think about that call, I wonder, was it a bribe or a ‘haq se maango’ moment? Did he conveniently think that he had a right to the facility offered to my husband (as a professional perk), just because he planned to offer me a job? Or was he testing how desperate I was for the job?
I guess, I’ll just leave it at that. It is a funny world indeed.