The Examination

The person, hardly more than a boy, sat with some trepidation, almost on the edge of the seat. He managed to maintain eye contact, but only barely. I was thinking ofways to put him at ease. I started by asking him where he was from and what he liked. He was uncomfortable answering even these questions. I was clearly failing in my attempts. I was beginning to get exasperated. 18 more candidates and just under two hours. At this rate I was going to miss my lunch. So instead of further beating around the bush I came straight to business. He again fumbled and was getting confused. Much to his relief, I started completing his unfinished sentences. Suddenly I reflected on what I had done to put myself in such a situation. The candidate must have been thinking the same. A thought came to me that just a few years ago I would have been sitting in his seat, perspiring. It has been a relentless if unremarkable journey from the other side of the table. I thought without modesty, that it has been a journey of hard work if not of brilliance. Meanwhile, the candidate was mumbling something which sounded like a coherent plausible reply to one of my questions. I doodled with my pencil on the scoring sheet. And then suddenly out of nowhere, he had a bout of inspiration and confidence and answered my next couple of questions with ease. I told him  that he had passed but if he wanted to improve his score he can tell me one more topic on which I would ask him a last question. He smiled for the first time and refused, content with his performance if not with his knowledge. I scribbled 58 against his name after carefully shielding it with another paper. Phew! Next one please! I cried out. This candidate had taken me seven minutes. I wanted to have my lunch so I decided to cut down on the niceties, which were as such making not much impact.


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