Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Interview

When I was in India, my friend Deepti suggested that I apply for AISEC. I didn't know anything about it, but I was curious and decided what the heck, let me go. Well, little did I realize that this organization wasn't just any organization, it was more like a secret sisterhood/brotherhood type of society where you had to qualify for becoming a member. There were only 50 seats nation wide, and thousands of applicants.
Now we're talking!! It didn't take me long to make up my mind, and I knew I just had to get in.

So, I filled out the paperwork with a rigorous fervor, making sure every 'i' I dotted said something about my personality - afterall, my reputation was at stake. Maybe they liked my perfectly dotted 'i' for I passed the first round and was called for the second one - the interview round.

To be honest, I did not know then what it meant to give an interview back then. To me it was more like a debate competition that I used to religiously take part in (and win) and so I approached it like a competition. I was ready to fight the 100 odd applicants to win this competition - even if it meant that I had to dance with no music on. And, I still remember this interview like it was yesterday.

The interview was held in a school on the other end of the city, and after 2 buses and three hours, I reached there all exhausted and tired. To regain my vigor, I started doing breathing exercises - inhaling and exhaling in controlled long sequences. As I was doing this, I approached the huge iron gate of the school and announced myself to the guard. The guard looked up at me and gave me a weird look, and asked me to repeat my name. I stopped my exercise and repeated my name. He nodded without looking up this time from his name register and let me in through a small gate inside the huge iron gate. It felt as I was entering a palace.

When I walked in, it looked more like a deserted fort with lots of rooms and no signs of humanity. I looked around and saw a sign screaming "AISEC" with a poignant arrow pointing in the direction I was to go. I dusted off my skirt, tucked my shirt a bit more and pushed the loose ends of my hair around my ear and walked confidently in the said direction. Then I saw a woman standing with a checklist in her hand, she looked at me and smiled. I told her my name, and she said "You're early, please sit in this room until your turn comes." I walked in and saw 4 more candidates, and my heart skipped a beat or was it that it thumped loudly against my chest. I just felt as if all my confidence was about to drain from my body. But, then I regained myself and calmed myself by thinking that maybe they were feeling the same way too. So, it wasn't all that bad. I think I actually smiled at one of them - you know the nervous silly smile!

My name was called after like 20 minutes and I followed the woman with the checklist to the end of a hallway and into a room. I noticed 2 shadows, and as I was about to say "Thank you", the door behind me closed with a slam, sucking out the life behind these words.

One of the shadows, now a full blown lady appeared in front of me, shook my hand and asked my sit on the chair in front of a table that she was to sit behind. "So," she said, "tell me about yourself." And, I remember going, "Huh?" so she repeated herself. Now, nobody  had asked me that question so it was kinda' weird talking about myself. Should I tell her how I loved crocheting or that I was a good dog walker or I could write with my eyes closed? I decided that was too risky, so I talked about my school, my major subjects and my hobbies. When I stopped to take a breath, she said, "Well, that's pretty interesting.  Why do you think we should pick you for AISEC?" I promise, I probably looked at her as if she had sprouted 3 hands and was doing some sort of a rave dance step. What kind of question was that? I know they wanted me so why these silly questions? Anyways, I smiled a little and went on an answering spree. After I finished, she nodded, and then got up and I saw the second shadow, now a full blown man stand in front of me.

He smiled and held up his paper, put a stapler in front of me and asked "Tell me 10 uses of this stapler other than the obvious." Ok, this is really crazy, I remember thinking to myself. But then I pushed myself to think! And, said whatever came to my mind.

Three weeks later, I got the call that I was selected to become AISEC member. They liked one of my answers, especially the one to the stapler question, and here's the winner, ladies and gentlemen..."Use the stapler as your own personal defense tool - aka the  nanchuk!!"

Aaahh, I still remember this interview like it was yesterday.


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