“I had always wanted to learn skating. I wanted to speak Spanish. I wanted a lot of money. I desperately needed a girlfriend.” Rithik looked up from his keyboard and felt like smashing his monitor. But then again, monitors are expensive.
This was his hundredth (how he wished it was an exaggeration) attempt to make his resume. The initial efforts were far from fruitful. One might as well have used a name slip – the ones you used in school texts, and passed it on to his recruiters. Name, college and ID number- there ended his achievements list. Painful.
There are times when you think your problems are unique, when you feel as if you are the only one that God hates, times when you wonder how pathetic those other sperms might have been to let you pass by. It was when these thoughts started passing through his head, coupled with the fact that he was on the sixth page of Google results for “Innovative ways to commit suicide” – that he decided to get a job. A few months out of college with a near pointless engineering degree is when existential crisis struck. The rate at which he was going, he would have to live in someone’s basement or die of hunger. He began surfing endlessly and fell into the whirlpool of the self-help industry. With their readymade theories of ‘write four life statements’, ‘make a dream list’, ‘fire, ready, aim’ he felt cured for a while, so much so that he began making his ‘want to be resume’, a classic self-help. After typing a few sentences, he realised how desperate he actually was. It all came down crashing.
The walk-in-interview was tomorrow. He didn’t have a resume. Not even a self-help one. Back to square one. Panic didn’t creep in, it took him by force. Things had been bad, but now they had reached a whole new level. In a fit of rage, he threw the monitor off the table.
“I’m done with this”, he grunted.
Taking the coat off its stand, he stormed out of his apartment. With no idea of where he was going, he just walked. Walked for hours; or was it minutes? He couldn’t care less. After smoking his way through a pack of cigarettes, he stopped at the fringe of the city. The place looked desolated; a good place to contemplate.
“I need this”, he thought.
He took out his bottle of whiskey and sat on the ground. A few sips in, he saw the silhouette of a man in the dim moonlight. The man was about 15 feet away from him.
“Great, I can’t even get this” he muttered.
The figure moved towards him. He tried to look uninterested, hoping that the person would just pass by.
“Hey, you might want to leave from here”, the man said in a low voice, it had an eerie touch to it.
“Look, I’m not in the mood buddy. Unless you own this place, I’m not moving”, he replied.
“As a matter of fact, I do own this lot but, that’s not the reason I want you to leave”, the tone was firm.
For lack of a reply, he just raised his eyebrow.
“Well, I guess it won’t matter much if I tell you! So the thing is, I’m going to kill myself.” The man continued in a calm voice.
“I don’t buy it- if you were going to do it, you would’ve done it already”, Rithik continued, “What is it that’s so wrong in your life anyways? You said you own this bloody lot, it can’t be half bad. I don’t even have enough in me to write a stupid resume. How awful is that?”
The man chuckled, “So you think some shitty piece of land would make you happy?”
“At least I’d have my own land to kill myself.”
The man laughed for a second; but it was the most he’d laughed in years.
“You want some whiskey?” Rithik offered.
The man took the bottle and sat down. By the time they both got up to leave, it was almost midnight.
They bid farewell and as he was leaving, the man called him.
“Hey! What’s your name? I think we ought to know at least that much.”
He smiled, “I’m Rithik.”
The man shook his hand and said, “Pleasure to have known you, I’m Manish Singh.”
Rithik went home that night and he thought about how that talk had helped clear his mind. They talked about nothing personal and were completely anonymous to each other – but those few hours had been transformative.
He stayed up all night and prepared for his interview. Cursing himself for breaking the monitor, he ran to the nearest cyber café and wrote his resume.
Rithik, barely on time, ran to the receptionist and after confirming, the receptionist let him towards a door.
“Just a heads up, someone else will be taking your interview. We’re swamped”, she told him en route to their destination.
He read the sign on the door and couldn’t help but chuckle.