Devoting thousands of days in phrontisteries, I always aspired that one day I would be working in an office. My college girls from various villages readied themselves for marriage even when they were middlers at that stage. But I hoped that my endurance would earn me a placement. Upon graduation, I commenced casting about for my career in earnest, but ended up depressed.
In Bangalore itself, I attended more than twenty interviews. The interviewers gave me multiple answers, but their reason remained one. ‘You are a disabled woman’ was what they precisely meant. Having a profile on naukri.com was my first crime. Each day I would receive more than ten calls asking me to attend interviews.
My day-to-day duty was to get ready for the scheduled interview. I would print my curriculum vitae in a nearby internet cafe, take buses to the venue, attend that day’s interview, listen to the interviewer say, “Sorry, here we can’t hire you!” and return to the room hungry and angry at the same time.
The saddest thing was that I should parcel up my heart even after returning to the hostel. Rubbing salt into that, if I returned late at night, there would be no food left to eat. Nevertheless, as if the one who already knew this, I would always buy one or two puffs. And I would devour them in wrath as soon as I had a long hot bath.
Whether I was worn out or not, I had to wash what I had worn throughout the day every night. Because I only had two formal wears and a few inner wears. If I didn’t wash those, I could only go braless for forthcoming interviews. Afterwards, spreading the blanket over me, I would squeeze my eyes on the pillow, brooding over my love left unsaid and the interview I attended. It was my daily routine then.
Recruiters have been taught to reject us. Although, I can’t blame them for my failures. It is just because of their prolonged, false belief that disabled people are not able to do any jobs. So, they do what they are taught to do.
Regardless, to change this prejudice, we should be given a chance to prove ourselves. When we can’t get that chance, this belief continues to colonise their hearts.
In contrast, I have also been with informal people who don’t make me feel I am disabled. For them, this is normal, and I am just like other people. Even if they are informal, their world is broad and open for all.
On one such night, I returned to the room with a heavy heart, only to be rebuked by my roommate. “Reshma, we can’t change your nature. Though, you should not be a beggar,” she hotly said, akin to my heart.
These sensible words changed my world. It is easy to forgive but hard to forget, I thought. I had read Bharati a lot. And so, just like what he did, I decided to transform my anger into art. Only then did I begin writing a book on unemployment.
As seen above, I titled it “I have an interview tomorrow“. I chose this phrase as the title of this book, as this was my most-used dialogue. I named its female protagonist Udhira meaning ‘won’t fall‘ in Tamil. As her name meant, I characterised her as a confident, disabled woman having a dream.
I wrote down all the things I had endured as a job seeker and the places I had explored in Bangalore. I further examined other disabled people’s pains. Then, curating these things for hundreds of days, I finally created the heroine’s one day.
This fiction is full of conversations between a disabled woman and her determined heart. I don’t know if this book will earn me any fame. But even so, I am sure that it will enable every reader to follow their dream.
If we look at India’s population, unemployment is inevitable for everyone. Amid the millions of the unemployed mob, we can’t wait and fight for the same job. Nevertheless, we can differentiate ourselves from them by pursuing our dream. Because every heart is quite distinct, and so is its dream. And when we listen to our heart, we will find what we want at last. It is what my book is about.
Wait, my beloved people! I can’t conclude this article without speaking about my free sale. As yesterday marks the 100th death anniversary of Subramania Bharati, I offer my ebook for free for two days. Click here to buy it without spending a rupee.
This two-day sale ends at 12.30 pm tomorrow. Until then, you can get my book for free once you download Amazon Kindle.