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Interview letters

Those were the days of the snail mail, and those were also the days of unemployment (I am referring to my own state of unemployment).

Having just finished college, I was trying hard to find myself a job. But the going was tough; no one was willing to employ me.

It was a set daily routine. After breakfast every morning, my favourite pastime was to pick up the local newspaper and scan through the job vacancy columns.

Some days I would be lucky and there would be an advertisement for a job that fitted my qualifications but, of course, the experience would be lacking.

But that was no deterrent. I would pick up a pen and paper, write an application, and send it on its way by availing the services of good old India Post. Fortunately, envelopes were quite cheap in those days, and this expense was within my means.

Then would begin an expectant wait. I would wait eagerly for the postman to see whether he had anything for me. Some days I would be lucky, and there would be an envelope, bearing the logo of the company to which I had sent an application. It was exciting to receive an interview letter; it was, at least, the next best thing to actually getting a job!

I would appear for the job interview. But interviewers had probably taken a dislike to my face or perhaps my attitude, and I continued to remain jobless.

This continued for a prolonged period of time. I had, meanwhile, collected a large number of interview letters which I meticulously preserved. In fact, collecting interview letters had become a hobby. As a child, I had developed a fancy for matchbox labels and used to keep my eyes glued to the ground in search of them. Later, I abandoned this hobby in favour of bus tickets. This was followed by a phase of collecting postage stamps. This hobby, too, did not last long and was usurped by an urge to collect posters. The interest in posters waned, and for a very long period of time the collector's urge lay dormant. Now that urge had woken up, and what fascinated me now were interview letters!

My next-door friend was going through the same turmoil. His situation, then, was worse (today, he has a much more paying job than me). His applications, by and large, remained unanswered.

Apart from scanning the newspapers, my other favourite pastime was to gather the envelopes containing the interview letters and gaze at them lovingly. Just to see my name in print, peering out of the envelope window, gave me a thrill - a joy which you experience on seeing your name in the newspapers (of course, for right reasons!)

One day I was engaged in this important activity when my friend joined me.

"Look," I told him, "I have collected so many interview letters".

The friend's eyes glinted in admiration (or, was it jealousy?).

"You are great, yaar ........," he said in admiration (or, again, was it jealousy?).

My lips broke into a broad grin. Who doesn't like to hear a word of praise?

"You are great, yaar." he repeated for emphasis, "Despite attending so many interviews, you have still not been able to get yourself a job!"

The grin froze on my lips. Served me right, I was asking for it.

Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu