(This is a work of fiction. Resemblance of any character to any living person is purely co-incidental. Needless to say, the whole situation is a figment of my imagination)
She was apprehensive. The candidates coming out of the interview seemed stressed. She wondered what was going on inside. Should she accost the next candidate and ask him what was happening? What was the line of questioning that was being followed? Why were the candidates stressed?
Her mind went back to the Group Discussion. She had stepped into the small room and was stunned. There were 20 people for the GD. A middle-aged buxom lady who made her sign her attendance and gave her a badge greeted her. She glanced at the panel. They were three of them. There was a young lady – definitely not a lecturer. She must be an alumnus. She was smiling and whispering to the person on her right who was a rather balding man; with a French beard. He was nodding his head and smiling but all the time his eyes were flitting across the room taking in minute details of the candidates. He made eye contact with her. She held his gaze for a while, then looked away. She felt uncomfortable. He was a Professor for sure, she thought. The third person, of this trio, looked bored. He was younger, seated on the right of the professor. He too is a professor she thought. She wondered; what were the subjects they taught?
She turned to have a look at her rivals on the group discussion round. There were two other girls. They were nervous, she could tell. There were 17 boys. Well, she told herself, as she scanned them just two of them were worth a look-see. The others weren’t what she would term as worthy opponents. The older Professor too was sizing them up with a faint smile on his face. Once again their eyes met. His gaze was piercing and observant. He was sizing up the group. He leaned towards the young girl and whispered in her ear. She looked startled as a gazelle would on hearing a sound. She too gazed at the group and nodded to the Professor. The younger professor stood up and announced the rules of discussion. He droned giving an impression that he was repeating the instructions as a monk would repeat a litany of the saints. The topic was announced - “The relevance of Gandhisim”. She was bored. She glanced around and found to her amusement her ‘rivals’ put down points furiously. She made a few mental notes on what she was going to say; that is, if she got a chance.
The discussion began and as usual it was a shouting match. She was reminded of a fish market. The two girls too pitched in with shrill voices. She heard one of the participants speak in broken English and what he said startled her. He was pointing out that Gandhism was relevant even today. Wasn’t Sonia Gandhi running the Govt? She was stunned. She leaned forward and in a clear distinct voice told the boy “We are talking about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi here”! There was a momentary silence. She continued, “According to me Gandhism is relevant for all ages, but today, in modern
She was brought out of her reverie by the buxom lady telling her to get ready for the interview. Her turn came up and she was ushered into the room. Just as she had imagined, the older professor was sitting in the center. He smiled at her. But it was his eyes. They were already reading her. She fended the questions from the younger professor. He was asking her what she was prepared for. She felt comfortable as she waxed eloquence. She was conscious of the older professor’s gaze. She turned to look at him. He was tugging at his beard. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how did your GD go?” he asked. She paused and then murmured “4”. “Why”? He countered. She was about to give him a piece of her mind but held back and said “I could not get in my points”. He looked at her and said “That wasn’t supposed to be your answer. Tell me what’s on your mind”. For a minute she was startled. He could read her mind? She decided to let them have it. She was agitated. How could you put in 20 people and ask them to discuss? Wasn’t it illogical? Didn’t they know that it would be a fish market? Why have the exercises at all? She paused for breath. The young lady on the panel though taken aback could not hide a smile. The young professor was staring at her, his mouth open. But the older professor laughed. “You still managed a relevant point,” he said. “Tell me, list 3 negative points that you have heard of this institute”. She looked straight at him and said “Firstly, the location, secondly, the infrastructure & finally I have been asked not to sign up for food in the mess”. The agitated younger professor was about to say something when the older professor interjected and said “This place has six flights a day from Mumbai, five from
Had she made the grade? She was deep in thought as she reached for her mobile phone. She better call up home; her mother would be fretting.