Intense. Circa 2014. Date: 21 Feb. I was sitting calmly wearing a placid look, like storm clouds trying to soak the thunderstorm which was about to arrive. My name was called loudly when my turn came, sending a jolt down my stomach. To defuse some of the tension, I took a deep breath and walked into the interview room to find the three panelists sifting through some documents.
'May I sit sir?'
'Would you prefer standing?', asked the panelist 1 sarcastically. Another panelist 2 signaled me to sit down.
I was already off to a bad start.
'So tell me something about yourself?' asked panelist 1. I gave them the standard reply I had been preparing for the past two days.
Smiling slyly, panelist 3 said, 'You look nervous'
'I am nervous sir'
'Why?' he asked. 'Isn't fear the enemy?'
Without practicing any restraint, I blurted out my reply. 'Some amount of fear is good sir'
All three of them smiled at each other. 'Where are you from?'
'Who are your neighboring states?'
'Gujarat, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh'
The panelist frowned. 'Thats it?'
'Oh sorry. UP is also a neighboring state'
'What about Punjab?', asked panelist 1 with a wry smile.
I gave a quizzical look and then remembered Rajasthan touches Punjab at its northern tip. 'Yes sir. I forgot'
Panelist 1 nodded. 'Hmm'
They asked me some theoretical questions about the projects I had done in college. I answered some correctly and others vaguely. This lasted for ten minutes after which the interview was over.