By JAVEID HASSAN MALIK
On the 12th of December, 2017, Kashmiris woke up to a thin white blanket of snow. It was enough to put shadows of doubt over scheduled events like exams and interviews. Incidentally, my interview was scheduled on the same day. The night before the interview, I kept a hawk’s eye on the official website of the JKSSB for any news about postponement of interview, but my efforts were all in vain. So, I began to prepare myself for said interview by arranging my desired documents in order. I slept early so that I could wake up early.
As planned, I woke up around 6:30 am in the morning. The first thing I did was to unfurl my room curtains to have a look outside; it was not pleasant sight for me as everything was covered with a white blanket of snow. In a hurry, I raced towards the Masjid to for the morning prayers. I had a bit of light breakfast of bread with omelette that my mother had prepared and I left my home with her blessing by the name of Dastageer sahib as usual.
My first challenge was to reach to the national highway which is about two kilometres from our home. I geared myself to walk by foot. On the way, I had the company of local carpenters who too were rushing to their sites of work. On knowing about my purpose of travel, they started recounting folktales about unemployment, interviews and corruption of yester years. The tales these people regaled me with were full of pessimism with no head and tail. I was left with no option other than responding to every argument of theirs with an affirmation. I reached the highway with snow soaked clothes and my hair had a nature’s wash of snow.
As I clambered into a commercial vehicle, the driver enquired about the purpose of my trip. Upon hearing my response, he threw a salvo at me in typical Kashmiri: “Sufaerish Chay sa? (Have you any push from politician for this job). I responded in the negative and he turned verbose by recounting fabricating tales about corruption prevalent in our system.
I listened keenly till I bid him final good bye on reaching the venue of my interview. With no bill board of the JKSSB on display, I crossed the road entered the first building that was visible. Answering to nature’s call, I searched for a washroom, only to spot one in the ground floor, but I only came out vomiting, in no time; it stank badly with such poor condition of commode it appeared it had not been cleaned since the past decade. I began to adjust myself by moving outside to have a dollop of fresh air.
As, I reached the fourth floor of the building and when I spotted a few candidates, I had a sigh of relief. I got my documents checked and began to wait for my turn outside the door were already few candidates were standing and waiting. With no seating arrangement I too stood like a herd of sheep outside the door. Each time, the door was opened; the candidate who had finished the interview was cordoned off by others to know what was being asked inside. Then, within no time my turn came. I entered the interview room, and saw two female interviewers sitting at an extreme distance, quite opposite to each other unlike a typical interview panel.
I was welcomed with loud yawing with invocations from interviewer sitting on rotating chair. I seated myself as the interviewer seated on the sofa bombarded me with questions about my subject. I responded with ease, till she shifted to district profile stats like sex ratio of x district, literacy rates and so on. I was too frank in responding to her in the negative and then I was asked to leave. My interview lasted for nearly four minutes and these four minutes are going to decide my capability for a job!! Now, I have to wait for nearly one month to know about the result. I am not optimistic about it. While my day had begun with great enthusiasm and anticipation, it was killed by the experience at the interview. I end with a note that many others, who were at the interview, would be feeling the same.
—The author holds Master’s in Chemistry. He is SLET/NET qualified and can be reached at: [email protected]