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[Click here to read The Recruit: Part 1]

It was a bright and sunny Monday morning. Dressed nattily in my best suit and carrying my certificates in a lucky folder, I stepped out of my hotel to catch the tube to Moorgate station. I already knew that the journey should take me about seventeen minutes and thirty-one seconds door-to-door having used a stopwatch to time my earlier expedition. This gave me an hour to spare- enough time to reach there and compose myself mentally.

Then, two things happened:

One, when I stepped out of the Moorgate tube station, I was appalled to find that it was raining. I had not accounted for the gloriously uncertain English weather.

Two, since I hadn't noted down which exit I had used earlier, I was completely lost. Moorgate station has eight exits.

After exploring each exit in turn, I found the right exit and waited for the rain to abate. It showed no signs of stopping. The clock was ticking and since I had absolutely no desire to walk into my first ever interview looking like a drowned rat, I paid a visit to the station store and was soon the proud owner of an umbrella (1 Nos., £10). I reached the office ten minutes before my interview was scheduled to start. Heaving a sigh of relief, I let the good-looking girl at the reception know that I had arrived. 

While I waited for someone to get me, I let my eye wander around the room. Expensive furniture, opulent oak-panelled doors and walls covered with tasteful pieces of art confirmed that the setting was carefully calculated to impress and/or intimidate the outsider. It definitely worked. I wondered if I belonged here.

A quarter of an hour later, I looked up to see a very thin and slightly surly looking lady walking up to me. As she came closer, I saw that she was in her late twenties but for some strange reason, she reminded me of the matron from my boarding school days. Perhaps this was because she wore her reading glasses at the absolute end of her long nose and looked at me from above them, making me feel a bit like a twelve-year old insect to be squashed underfoot. I put on my best smile and we exchanged greetings. She informed me, in her prim voice, that she was Janine, the graduate recruitment officer, and that I should follow her to the interview room. My knees shaking, I followed her obediently in complete silence.

We reached the interview room and the interrogation began:

Janine: Would you like tea or coffee?

Nandii: I'll just have some water, thank you.

(Bob's comments: I thought it best to avoid an embarrassing and potentially irreversible spillage on a suit I might need for future interviews.)

Janine: Still or sparkling?

Nandii: Still, thank you.

(Bob comments: I could not fathom for the life of me why she had offered me plain soda. I declined because I was not sure how much the combination of harmonic flatulence and rumbling noises from my stomach would impress my interviewer. However, given the state of my nerves. if she added some whisky to that "sparking water" I would have been more than willing to give it a shot.)

Janine: Shall we begin then?

Nandii: Yes, please.

(Bob's comments: The matron was my interviewer- great! This made me re-assess my place in the universe since I didn't even merit a fee-earner after being flown 6,000 miles.)

 Janine: So what influenced your decision to study law?

Nandii: Well, I have had a passion for logical reasoning and a flair for language from an early age. It seemed logical to combine the two and law presented me with the perfect career option.

(Bob's comments: Of course, I cleverly omitted to mention the part where I did abysmally in my board exams so no other college would touch me with a barge pole. Also how I I fluked the entrance test and scraped through four years of law school.)

 Janine: Why did you choose London?

Nandii: London has historically been an important international business centre. Also, since it is a cosmopolitan city and is reaping the rewards of the current financial boom it would be the ideal place for me to start my legal career.

(Bob's comments: In 2005, each British Pound could be traded in for 88 Indian rupees. For a fuller list of reasons of why I chose London please see- All aboard the Brain Drain Express?)

 Janine: Why did you choose Colby, Hewitt and Richards? What makes us different from our competitors?

Nandii: Apart from being known world-wide for its transactional expertise, Colby, Hewitt and Richards is reputed to be the firm for the go-getter. Unlike other firms, being highly ambitious is not seen as a bad thing here. As hard work, vision and creativity are rewarded richly here, it seems a natural choice for me.

(Bob's comments: Competitive cut-throats employed by the firm did not figure in my decision-making at all. Simply put, the firm had paid for my friend's trip to Madame Tussuad's and it seemed like an easy con to pull. Other firms were smarter and did not fall for it.)

 Janine: What would you say is the main thing that motivates you?

Nandii: The desire to learn and prove myself the best in my field is my greatest motivation.

(Bob's comments: A blatant lie. Sex with hot chicks- even the possibility of it- was and still is my greatest motivator. Money comes in a close second.)

 Janine: How do you react to high pressure situations?

Nandii: One of my best assets is the ability to thrive on pressure. I am a calm and collected person who focuses on solutions and reaching the best results for all concerned parties. 

(Bob's comments: I've always reacted well to such a situation. I face it every morning. Sometimes twice or thrice a day when I have eaten a dodgy curry. In fact, I sensed a high-pressure situation building even as I answered the question.)

Janine: What is more important- your job or your salary?

Nandii: Money is important but only to an extent. I think I would be quite happy doing what I love even if it wasn't very lucrative. Money always follows success.  

(Bob's comments: I didn't know why I was being asked this question. If I didn't love the money, I wouldn't be at the interview. I would be working with an NGO in a remote village, helping people who were distressed by more than the latest rise in customs duty.)

Janine: If you were an animal, which one would you be?

Nandii: A horse, because horses are hard-working, versatile and dependable.

(Bob's comments: I think the sloth bear would have described me best since I regularly spent 20 hours a day in dreamland. My greatest fear has always been the TV remote being out of reach.)

Janine: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Nandii: That's an easy one- it would have to be you, because that way I would be able to learn all sorts of things about the firm from an insider. Also, the firm would pick up the tab.  

(Bob's comments: Why on earth would I want to fantasize about taking a dead person to dinner? Creepy. Also, this way I could poison Janine's drink while she powdered her nose and rid the world of the matron menace.) 

Then, two things happened:

One, she turned a deep red and smiled when she heard my last answer. She was blushing.

Two, I realised that unless I said something really stupid, I had got the job.

The rest of the interview was a breeze. We discussed, among other things, the merits of Brick Lane's Chicken Tikka Masala and analysed England's chances on its upcoming cricket tour of India (if you remember we trounced them in 2006). We parted half an hour later on cordial terms.

Three weeks later, I got an offer letter from Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP along with a handwritten sticky-note from Janine which said simply "Dinner when? My treat". I vowed never to overdo the famed Reywal charm again. This was a price too great to pay. Since the offer letter had no date by which I had to accept, I put it aside...for the moment. Life went on.

A few months later, I received an email from Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP saying that Miss Katie, the new graduate recruitment officer, would be replacing Miss Janine (who was leaving the firm) and that Katie would be answering any queries I had.

"Bom Chicka Wah Wah" was playing in my head as I couriered my signed acceptance letter to London. 

Nandii Reywal, Trainee Solicitor. I really liked the sound of that.

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