When everyone in the civil service slept extra hours on Saturday and Sunday, I woke up early morning to head for the office. I was to join a team of well-versed interviewers to interview about 150 candidates (shortlisted from among more than 350 applicants) vying for the post of Personal Assistants. I was the junior-most officer who lacked experience and knowledge to conduct interview but I had no way to escape. Before I could even prepare for it, I found myself interviewing applicants.
We started calling in applicants and asking questions. Each time the door opened, new faces appeared in but our questions did not seem to be new for all. We repeated the questions (like Baza Guru), except on certain occasions, so as to judge the applicants on the same standardized grounds. The candidates who were appearing interview for the first time crawled in like a cat soaked in water while those who had attempted several interviews in the past walked in boldly.
Graduates had come to snatch away class XII jobs. They are willing to stoop down and take the post of a PA to gain experience which they said is demanded everywhere. On the other hand some class XII graduates had waited for years to be employed. Some graduated as early as 2002 and had been hunting for a job which they said is rarer than daylight stars. A few of my classmates, who had been repeating class XII two-three times, had also turned up for the interview. I knew the race of life is not same for all. And the majority among the interviewees was those pushed to extremes by the society.
One among them was a moderately built woman. She is the inspiration behind this post. Like other applicants, she had come to sit for the interview. But the unique part in her was that she did not speak much. She rather let her tears speak for us. We tried hard to read the words laden in her tears but we failed until she said her husband left her and her two-year-old son for a better wife.
I was shaken by her problem. I wish to hear everything in the world but not the stories of fallen love. When she sobbed, I knew a thorn had pierced into her heart that gave her so much of pain. She must have had a million-hour story to narrate but the time we offered her to speak was just a couple of minutes. Within that speculated time, she managed to tell us that they married happily some years ago after which her husband forced her to discontinue studies saying he would take care of her. However, their joy of marriage ended soon when he packed and left the room. She was not prepared for the end but it came for her.
Since then, knowing that she has to fight forward with her remaining life, she sat for Continuous Education (CE) exams while struggling to care her son. And she had come for the interview expecting a job that would give her a decent salary to raise her son.
I wish I could provide her a job so that she rises in the society. But bound by the rules, I had no authority to spill-over my compassion. Someone has made it clear that compassion is no fire to melt metal fences.