There is no limit for education, says one of the great men (assuming I will be one day). But if when you are twenty eight, a father of one, ex-corporate employee who is becoming student to get job in civil service at entry level, one feels the pressure of age frying up your very sinew. Reading novels, newspapers or any thesis doesn’t make you feel old but being at an institute where learning is formalized, where rules are drafted as if for children and where you are among your three to four years junior makes you conspicuously feel aged and out of place.
Two years ago when I joined the corporate service, I was like damn what the heck. Give it a try. After all, you get to try only once in your one-life. As an inexperienced guy, aged among peers, right out of college, I thought it would be a great opportunity to test my media studies in corporate media house just to realize too late that post I opted for was intended for something different. Can you imagine, a journalism student doing marketing which is better way of saying begging. Still, I stayed there as a begging officer, oops marketing officer sweating for two years. Looking for different marketing venues was as scarce as finding a needle in the hay stick. Disturbing seniors’ client base even with new ideas was like blasphemous act in ancient Christian history. ‘Those ministries are my clients, these corporations are my clients and those agencies were my to-be-clients.’ Boss would be clueless about what each marketing officers were doing. He bothered less if certain air of animosity has developed among those. All he cares was work report at the end of months so that he could proudly show it to his boss. Worse, boss knows which side of the bread is buttered. If certain junior is related to some big fishes, he is all ears and rests are his minions.
The disgust I felt at selection for vacant post (where relatives and friendships matters more than ability) and the hatred I felt for those ass lickers and disrespect I had for those know-not-but-to-lick-ass was a first paracetamol pills that would cure me from illness and suffocation of corporate nepotism. I told myself it is better late than never. I may not shine in civil service as it needs both ability and public relation but I wouldn’t always have to kiss ass for promotion, training and favour. At least I will get a single promotion whenever due. So I wrote civil service examinations bluffing my ways through. It was okay with me whether I got through or not.
But today, I feel nervous like a nine year old boy I was when I first self-admitted to school some light years ago. I know what I will do in civil service fairly well. I will will be writing note sheets after note sheet seeking kind approval; I will be passing files for ‘kind consideration’ and I will be warming the chair religiously from 9 a.m to 5 pm. Being in civil service doesn’t worry me because my stint as corporate marketing officer gives me fairly nice picture of composition of civil servants’ scenes. Days and weeks would be gone by seeking appointment with director who ever seemed to be in meeting. Finally, one would be asked to send proposal. With difficulty, meeting would be fixed with him to explain the proposal. He would say ‘ I will look into matter’. One month later, while doing follow up, his PA would pick up. The proposal file would have been sent to some junior officers. With difficulty, one would be able to track that junior officer. That officer would ‘discuss the matter’ again with director. Three months later, the file would be lost and one would be asked to rewrite proposal again. As a civil servant, I would be there in the maze of bureaucratic process finding a means to make table tours at rate of maximum permissible ceiling.
Anyway, this would come after one year. What sends chill down my spine right now is being student once again among those proud young boys and girls who think succeeding in civil service exam is major accomplishment in life; who thinks world is smaller than they can see and who thinks they are really cream from seven lakh people in the country. It bothers me because I may not be able to fit in those innocent idealists. It bothers me because I might poison their idealism with my exposure to bitter world where competition is fierce, where favoritism is rampant and where cruelty of world is such that if you’re lying in the pool of blood in busy street, nobody will give you a damn.
I am also nervous because I might not be able to communicate at their level because the mindset of parents is quite different from mindset of parents. I will see world through parental point of view while they will see from child-point-of-view. But as fish in same bowl bound by same scanty water, one must be able to find ways to communicate effectively, one must find means to coexists, and one must learn to share experience and knowledge. Will I be able to do that? Lastly can I be a good student I never was when I was in the school and college.