The Interview

Back in 2004, I was in a bad state. After chucking the job at Financial Express, I was desperately searching for an opening. While, I was employed with an e-learning company, but it didn’t excite me much, since I wished to be in journalism. Being the first in my family to venture into the fourth estate, I was finding it hard to get a break in the mainstream media, since there was no god father to back me up and also since all of my previous stints had ended on an acrimonious note, I did not have good references either. What goes around, comes around, and I was just about realising that.

Sometime during that period, I chanced across an opening at It was (and still is) one of the premier portals in India. Also, the fact that I was much addicted to it, the prospect of getting a job there excited me all the more.  There used to be an HR head, Inderjit, who spoke to me over the phone and subsequently had me interviewed by the editors there. The interview with the editors, I think, went off fabulously well. The gentlemen were pretty cool, in fact, one of them even sported a pony-tail (considering that my editor at a previous stint coerced me to snip my off, it was a big thing). We discussed many things under the sun, right from philosophy to sports and I think I had bagged the job, when they got down to the basics about the notice period and salary slips. It all ended on a high-note, so even when they stated that they will get back to me later, I was much at ease.

After a few days, I received a mail from Inderjeet, he desired a few clarifications and posed a few queries and asked me to respond to them over the mail itself. It was sort of a final interview over email. Since, I was pretty confident that I had the editors impressed, I took the test a bit lightly and answered the questions in one-go, candidly.

Post the interview, all that I got from Inderjeet’s end was static. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and finally, I buried the last shred of hope that I carried with me. I WILL NOT BE GETTING A JOB AT REDIFF. The message was loud and clear. On introspection, I think I goofed up in the final stage. Or probably the vacancy got filled up or just disappeared.

Some days back, I chanced across the mail exchange, in which the interview was conducted. And somehow, even though I blamed my naivety for spoiling the chance, I did not feel the same about it now. The answers were honest and any one would have gauged that. I do not think that they were a reason now. Probably Inderjeet found someone better at a cheaper salary.

Nonetheless, reading that interaction was liking time travel for me, I could see myself back then, a youngsters with many dreams and aspirations who loved making castles in air. Back then, I must have been ashamed of how the interview went, but 6 years and more later, I am kind of proud the way it went. I might have not landed the job back then, but I had stayed honest and veered clear of diplomatic mumbo-jumbo. It is something, that I still try to do, though only in the future will I know, if I have managed to (like I could back in 2004). Let’s hope, I am able to.

Here is the email interaction and this is how the interview went:

Why do you want to quit your present job? You seem to be changing jobs quite often. Why?
Let me put it this way, I don’t want to quit my present job, it’s my profile that I am not comfortable with. After being in journalism for some years, that is the place that I want to be. Technically speaking, I have quit jobs only twice, Free Press Journal and Financial Express, the former for professional growth and the later due to personal problems, i.e., had to rush down to Mumbai. Thus be assured, I am not that fly-by johnnies.

Why did you suddenly change over from Economics and Political Science (graduation) to English literature (post-graduation)?
The fact of the matter is that the college from where I completed my graduation, Valia College, only offers graduation in Economics & Political Science. Whereas, I did my Masters in the subject I was most at home with: Literature.

Do you only write, or you write and edit copy?
God bless Financial Express, because, now I can write as well as edit a copy as well. My stint on the desk has refined my own writing a hundred times over and I can also spot mistakes (typos, etc.) and correct the too.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how many points would you give yourself, generally speaking in life?
Generally speaking, okies lemme try it out, personally speaking, I am 7.5 out of 10, professionally speaking, something like 8 of 10, dream-istcally speaking (ratio of the things that I dream to achieve and have achieved) say 2 of 10, etc. Thus, if one were to amalgamate all of these should be around 5-6 marks and heading ahead.

Do you watch movies/television, read books, surf? Which was the last movie/television program you watched, which is the most memorable book you have read, and which sites do you visit?
I am hooked on to reading, movies, television, and surfing, in the same order. The most memorable book, I unable to single out the best one till date. For instance, I was reading Dostoevsky’s short story “The Meek” yesterday, and it was the most amazing story I have ever read. I felt the same way while reading Marlowe’s  “Dr. Faustus”, or when ages ago, I read Dicken’s “Tale of Two Cities”, and so on. Though, I can say Tom Hank’s “Road to Perdition”, “Forrest Gump” and Kundan Shah’s “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” are my favourite films.

I visit BBC, Rediff, Sulekha, Samachar and other such sites on a regular basis.

Why do you visit those sites? For email? For news?
BBC for world news, Rediff for e-mail, national news and views, Chalomumbai for local news and Sulekha for fiction writing et al

Do you visit How often? Why?
Everyday, and quite many times in a day. To keep a tab on my mailbox, and the cricket score, film reviews and some of the columnist.

What do you think of the recent changes on
They are a lot neater, though I preferred the old rediff look, lot more information and less of marketing stuff

How would you rate your GK on a scale of 1 to 10?
I am an avid reader with a very bad memory, thus my GK isn’t as good as I want it to be, essentially because, I keep forgetting the names, etc. Say 6/10 should be fair enough.

Finally, we at do not believe that journalism is a 9 to 5 job. Are you ready to work extra/at odd hours?
I agree with you, journalism isn’t a 9-5 job; I am not only ready to work at odd hours but also going hither thither for stories and press conferences.

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