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“Hello! I am extremely sorry that I can’t make it to the interview.”

“May I know the reason?”

“Actually, my employers are in the same hotel where the interview is scheduled. The risk is worth not taking.”

“I have seen scores of people trying to reschedule interviews but I have never seen such a bizarre excuse.”

“It is not an excuse. Didn’t you see the Xenon meet?”

“That is not a problem. Let us meet at the café. Delegates don’t wander into those areas. I don’t think I can give you another time slot.”

“Can’t we have a telephonic interview?”

“It is nice to meet in person to get to know each other.”

‘Have your mother and sisters also come? They also get to know me. No? I thought this was a meeting to fix the great Indian arrange marriage. Meet in person.’ But these words never left the realm of her mind to reach her lips.

“But..”

“Believe me. Café will be ultra safe. Let me assure you.”

Nervously she tried to smile at the elegantly dressed radiant-faced gentleman sitting across the table. Before he could say a word, instincts took over her and she spoke the words one could never imagine doing in an interview.

“This is the most messed up interview I have ever faced.”

“Calm down and have your coffee” he tried not to look shocked.

“See, we really don’t need to do this.” Her eyes were wandering in all directions.

“People don’t come to the café leaving behind their conferences. So relax.”

“I cannot risk getting fired.” She was murmuring to herself.

“Can we start with the interview?” He kept the coffee mug on the table and took a relaxed posture. She felt that it was the winding back of the body before the predator jumps on its prey.

Reluctantly she said, “hmm.” Her tension was building up as she was trying to recall the well-rehearsed answers to the typical questions. ‘Self-motivated person who wants to explore the limits of her potentials. Thrives on challenges and her abilities in problem solving makes her a winner in constrained environments. A team player to the core…… My foot’

“What are the projects you are handling?”

‘Are you sure? No introduction? Nothing?’ She was bemused.

“Excuse me?”

‘Oh! Was I thinking aloud’ her thoughts and spoken words were crossing their individual universes.

“Presently I am working for an interface which combines the sales forecast trending and socio-economic factors of a geographical area under consideration.”

“So you can predict sales?”

‘Not even Nostradamus could.’ Her thoughts and she looked around one more time. “Not exactly but the interface on which I am working can. I am the one who logically interprets the database thus generated.”

“Interesting.” She could not make out whether he was being impressed or being sarcastic. “So where do you see yourself in five years from now?”

‘Seriously? You took so long to get into the typical interview groove. Let us see. Five years from now? In your chair. No, no. Not in your chair. In your boss’s chair and firing you over your poor sequencing of questions in interviews.’ No. She couldn’t say that.

“I see myself in the core team of an organization whose values and ambitions match my perspective and endeavor to set newer limits.”

“And what has been your greatest achievement?”

His image flashed before her eyes. All those years, the moments of pain, the desperations in struggles and the tranquility in love. There were together and this was her treasure for life. He has been her greatest achievement. The beauty in her smile was mesmerized by her own thoughts. Thoughts about him. A mild sound brought her back to the café. It was the interviewer’s phone ringing.

“Excuse me. Can I take the call here?” The interviewer had a polite inquiry.

“Yes, of course.” ‘Was this another gimmick trending in the world of interviews? She did not know and her eyes said she did not want to know. She carried on with her subtle survey of the people and place around. What was she still doing there?’

“Oh hi… not really…. In the middle of an interview… of course not… Not leaving the organization… We had an opening… Yes… I am the interviewer….Going good… Interesting candidate… no comments on that…. Let us meet tonight… at 9….ok… I’ll be at your place…bye…see you…”

Of course, she did not want to hear to the other side of the conversation. It could have never mattered less. She hoped that he would not return to the question left unanswered.

“Sorry for that. It was your boss.” He said plainly. “We were in the same batch in the business school. He joined Xenon and here I am.”

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