I am writing this to store a memory.
5th April, 6.30 a.m.
I open my eyes to find myself sitting in an empty bus. It seems that Bangalore has arrived earlier than I expected it too. I remove my bag, and make my way out. With instructions on how to reach Indiranagar. I get down, with thoughts of arrival in a big city and how it could be home, if I make it through the interview. But, all that could wait, I had not smoked for 9 hours in the bus. I smoked a cigarette, and found an ATM. From there, I took an Auto which was obviously fleecing me, but I thought “Let him fleece. 50 Rs. if he takes more, he will have a good morning!”
I reach Indiranagar (there’s a metro line running above me, which I mistake for a flyover) and with plenty of time on my hand, decide to smoke another cigarette before getting down to locating the place. Fortunately for me, I have a nice landmark to help me find it with ease. But, first I had to brush my teeth, and wash my face. Locating a kirana shop early in the morning is a pain. (None of the cigarette sellers here had a toothpaste.) With persistence and patience, I finally locate both a kirana store and a place where I could discreetly brush and wash my face. I give a thought, to going into a toilet of one of the malls or food joints, but find it too early in the morning. (Now, when I think of it brushing teeth behind a wall was one of the sweet memories of slight adventure about the trip.)
I wonder if I should change my shirt, or not. I decide against it, saying that it’s not possible. Perhaps, I should have let my mother do some talking, and locate a relative/person living in Bangalore- who’d offer me their bathroom for two hours in exchange for some conversation. But, I didn’t because I do not like people getting involved and working hard for my affairs. And, to disturb some family early in the morning is not my style.
I eat an idli wada sambhar in a nearby joint. I think, whether I should have coffee but decide against it.
I sit on a bench among silence and thoughts. Observing smart men and women, in good clothes along with so many other people. Thoughts of the interview discomfort me. I haven’t prepared much. I am not feeling fresh and ready. I don’t have my certificates. But then again, a man should keep calm and deliver. Write a good test, and you’ll be fine.
I land up in the office, only to be told (very sweetly, everyone is so sweet in this field) that I was supposed to come at 11 am. I say that I wasn’t informed. And, take leave.
I meet other job aspirants from my college and discuss how cool the system is at their office. Everyone from the receptionist, to the CEO wears the same t-shirt.
The copy test is given to us- and boy is it tough. Confident, and arrogantly- I write whatever ideas first appear in my head. Thinking too much, would have ensured I didn’t write the paper at all.
I am treated to lunch by the kind employees, and eat Mutton Rogan Josh, Butter Chicken, Rotis and Peas Pulao at a restaurant just below the building. The food is great and I relish it with much pleasure.
I am back in the office, and listen to jokes being thrown around by others from my college. Soon enough, the news is broken to me, that I don’t need to sit for an interview and that they’ll let me know. It stings, but that is expected- what was I thinking when I walked in there worn out and tired. (Definitely, not at my attractive best. People like to see effort being put in.) Plus, my answers were arrogant and badly framed. Still, in a way it’s a good thing, because a Bangalore based job will mean work + no money to blow up.
I book my tickets back to Manipal, and realise that I have 6 and a half hours to kill with nothing to do at all.
Drink beer out of boredom, slowly so as to spend as much time as possible with it. Thoughts that I have been toying with and sulking over for the past few months recur. Regret over all the things I’ve done, all the hopes that I had that I couldn’t afford to have, all the people whom I’ve lost and the sheer ignorance I have shown towards the things my mother spent on me and hoped from me.
I begin to feel skill less, demotivated and inferior. Yet, I tell myself that tomorrow is another day to work and that I shouldn’t feel so down. It is not going to bring any good.
I hum stanzas from Don McLean’s Vincent, and try to find a place to release my fluids. A different one from the place used in the morning. For adventure. (Trying to find something with a full bladder is intense.) I finally find a petrol pump and lighten my soul there. After which I locate a park, and remove my shoes and self massage my feet.
I drink another beer. Time is slow, but it passes.
I overhear a person ranting about how he was sold fake Hyderabadi Biryani which led to a ‘kaisa jalta’ feeling in his stomach. It brings a smile. I observe many more people, like the drunk man who broomed the outside of a shop to sleep on it.
10. 00 pm
I feel better sitting on the bus. And typically start staring outside at the shops and the city. It starts to rain. I do not attach personal significance to it. But, feel beautiful anyway.