Sunday 29 March 2015

An Interesting Character

Nervous, nervous, nervous! I sit in the reception of the office of a high-class entertainment magazine—I’m here for a job interview. I observe some chic girls/employees strutting around the office, and I instantly know that I’m a misfit here. Soon, I’m called in to meet the Editor. More nervous, nervous, nervous!

Having battled the scorching heat outside, I am and look a complete mess when I enter the Editor’s cabin. My handbag slips down my arm shabbily; a plastic cover looking more crumpled than folded is in my left hand; and I’m holding a folder with the right.

I see the Editor slowly scan me up and down. Surprisingly, at this point, my nervousness vanishes. Just like she’s amused by the picture I cut in front of her, so am I by her form and manner. Here was hoity-toity sitting on a tall chair with a tiny pillow squeezed behind her neck—perfect for the role of the Victorian drama queen, who’d swoon at the drop of a hat!

“Sit down,” she says in her high-pitched, nasal voice—the kind of voice that one would associate with a witch from a fairytale. (Hey, don’t call me mean; blame it on storytelling stereotypes!) Looking at her, I think: Now is my chance to prove that I am no less refined and sophisticated than her. So, I ‘gently’ pull the chair closest to me a little behind, but it goes… Screeeeeech! Excellent. The chair, which was behaving like her ‘pet’, must have read my thoughts. Why else would a chair screech? No more chair-moving, I resolve, and ‘gently’ try and squeeze myself through the gap between the chair and her desk, so that I can sit down… But I half fall on the desk… She gives me a piercing look… Mumbling a sorry, I collect myself and flop onto the chair somehow.

The silly pet chair still has its way: it is too low for me to even see the Editor’s face. In between her face and mine, now stands her pet PC monitor. Praying, I ‘gently’ shift the chair a little again, so that I can see half her face and she half of mine. Then begins the questioning: two questions down, I already know that she has already made up her mind about me and that she is not interested in my answers. So, I relax and begin giving unrelated, random answers, which she (strangely) graciously accepts without a second thought. Good for me!

She tells me that I have a mountain of a task to deal with if I am hired, adding that she is not very sure I can handle it all. I smile. “I cannot afford a single spelling error in my magazine!” she heaves. Errr…Should I tell her about the three glaring mistakes I spotted while glancing through the glossy mag? Nah! What if she faints or gets a heart attack? And who wants homicide charges! I continue listening to her… “Around 10,000 people read my magazine every day… And I get at least 500 letters in a day, if there is an error, saying they saw one spelling mistake…” My brain explodes with silent laughter: Hahahaha… Who are these 500 readers who have no work but to write to the Editor of a magazine about one spelling mistake?

She looks down at my CV. Suddenly, she crinkles up her nose like she could smell a gutter… Is she going to sneeze? Nope. There’s chaos and disgust in her eyes. She looks at me horrified and asks me in high-pitched shock as to where my place of residence exists. She has never heard of that place. Well, names of places don’t always have an uppity ring to them—mine was one of those unfortunate areas. I try telling her where it is located, but in vain. She gives me the ‘How can such LS beings even dream of working here in my team?’ look. I give her a fake, understanding smile.

However, she generously allows me to go to Level 2 of the interview; she leads me into the edit room for a copy test. That’s when she turns abruptly and asks me the question of the century: “What’s your name?” And to think that she had stared at my CV and interviewed me all this while. Clean bowled! I tell her my name, and proceed towards my test.

Midway through my copy test, I notice that the team members speak to each other only in whispers. A pre-requisite to pass off as svelte, perhaps. Just then, I hear the Editor’s high-frequency sneeze reverberate through the otherwise silent office. Then she lets out a groan… Is she dead? Another sharp sneeze and another painful groan... This time, I’m sure her brains spilled out. I expect her high-pitched alarm to go off. She doesn’t disappoint. The poor snoot calls out like it’s an emergency, “Can someone please come here?” And someone goes running to her cabin.

Soon enough, she comes into the edit room and says, “Nandini!” Yes, she was addressing me so. And to think I had just told her my name fifteen minutes ago. I correct her. A fake apology later, she tells me she’s off for the day and leaves.

As I walk out of the office a little later, after completing my test, I know for sure that the Editor won’t hire me, irrespective of how I’d done the test. But what I learnt more importantly from this interview is that snobbish characters such as this Editor don’t just exist in storybooks and movies. Beware, they’re out there!


  1. Well what they forget is that the so called poor candidate is also assessing the organisation...;)

    Well written..

  2. The devil wears Prada, Nalini, and only prefers people who wear the same.