Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rising with the Razor 

When the first man on this earth walked on, no one knew if he was clean shaven; nor did anybody could tell for sure if Eve fell only for his stubble. Neither did anyone know if Newton discovered gravity with a squeaky clean looks, when Einstein proposed the theory of relativity no one bothered about his looks either and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon ignoring the status of his beard.

This may be an intelligent way to win through an evening discussion over a glass of Scotch about one’s appearance but surely not the desired way to make an impression especially when it comes to represent one’s personality. Creative people, especially writers, may save their creative juices for some other time but when it comes to looks it is important to understand the impact of a professional appearance.

Imagine you are appearing in an interview with best of the degrees and required experiences but with a two-day-old stubble, what happens? Even the dumbest person knows the answer, doesn’t he? Now imagine in the same interview there is one more person with similar degrees and experiences but with a professional looks. Well, you are making the interviewer’s job easier just by your appearance. You may hear him making a promise to get back to you later while the other candidate may walk away with the offer letter in hand.

Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. And nothing more is as true as this; for once in my life I too resented the very idea of appearing with a Mr perfect-look. However, this cost me my career, a good friend and much more.

That was the time when I used to rub the sole of my shoes in search of a decent job. It was right after my graduation and I was looking desperately for a job to support my family that was dependent solely on my retired father. It was during the sub prime crisis and getting a job in the market was as good as finding God.

In those cataclysmic times, one day while returning from attending another unsuccessful interview, I met Urvashi—my college friend. She was a very close friend of mine and a perfect partner to share dreams and aspirations that filled a youthful mind.

Besides being beautiful she had one more quality. She was the sole heir to her multi-millionaire father. Naturally, the entire college was after her. Even a few young lecturers were in the queue. This had a benefit. She never had to attend any practical classes but used to score as good as any one of us for whom attendance was compulsory.

Standing in front of her, past memories came rushing like a flash flood. It took a while for her to recollect a face so familiar once. It was by no means her fault; for I was looking too weary and shabby. Just like a real friend she did not ask me about anything; for my appearance was bearing the testimony of my hardships.

She simply asked me to get into the car which I obeyed and off she drove it to a familiar place we used to come quite often during our college days.

Next one hour went explaining to her the need for my immediate employment. Sitting there she seemed to drift into a deep introspection and to be frank I was not in a position to recapitulate any sweet memories of my bygone days and was getting annoyed. The constant rejection of my candidature made me what I was and am not; an impatient man.

Nevertheless, she finally spoke and asked me to show her my resume. It took me a while to understand what she was up to but ever since I had known her I knew that asking her anything would yield nothing and I submitted to her demand.

While driving me home she was not talking much and I knew something was bothering her. I chose not to speak either. She dropped me home and drove off rapidly.

Early next morning I woke up by the ring of my mobile and heard Urvashi’s voice. She asked me to get ready quickly and meet her at a spot not so far from my place within an hour.

I was still not sure what she was cooking up in her mind but knowing her for so many years I was certain that whatever it was in her mind she would not disappointment me.

Seeing me coming she welcomed me with a big grin and asked me to sit beside her and ordered two cuppachinos.

While the coffee was brewing inside she told me that she had already spoken to her father regarding my need for a decent job and her father wanted to see me the next morning sharp at 11. The position was for a floor manager in one of her father’s manufacturing units.

I was nonplussed to hear this out and almost hugged her with delight. But she reminded me to treat her once I got the offer letter. She also asked me to get a quick make over for the interview and asked me to appear before her father wearing a suit.

This, however, doused my spirit as at that moment I did not have any and could not afford to buy one either. I told her frankly.

She thought it for a moment and got up from there and walked straight up to her car holding my hand. We stopped near a shopping mall and she asked me to get off. I understood what she was planning to do and knowing that stopping her now would be impossible I followed her. I thought of returning that favour some other way once I got the job.

She bought a suit and a Gillette Mach 3 for me and she dropped me home. Wishing me good luck she quickly drove off.

The next morning started with an unexpected shock. I was about to get ready for my interview when I heard the loud shrill of my sister. There was no one at home except me and my sister at that moment. Parents were out on a morning walk. I ran into the kitchen immediately and saw the entire floor was marked with blood that oozed out of her hand. Seeing so much of blood I was scared and she stood there holding her finger at one corner.

The cut was too deep and it was impossible to stop the blood. I immediately rushed her to a clinic. But clinics were not opened so early. I had to take her to the civil hospital for first-aid. The wound had to be stitched and when we came back home there was hardly any time left for the interview.

Still I dressed up and went out without having a shave as there was no time for the same. I, somehow, managed a bike from my neighbour and reached the venue on time.

I was waiting for my call and finally I was asked to enter the MD’s cabin. The meeting lasted only for ten minutes and I was sent home with an assurance to be informed about the selection later.

Disgruntled and frustrated I was lying on my bed when suddenly the phone rang. It was Urvashi. She asked me about the interview and learnt about its outcome she was confused too. She promised to call me later and disconnected the call.

After an hour she asked me to see her at the same spot we met yesterday. I said yes even without any desire to see her now and went out.

Looking at me she was furious and expressed her concern about my unshaven beard. I was trying to explain it to her the reason behind but she was not ready to listen. Finally, I too lost my temper and told her to stop blaming without knowing the reason.

Seeing me reacting like this she cooled down a bit and told me if being a friend she was not ready to listen to my reason then how come an interviewer would be ready to consider my excuse for appearing in a shabby manner.

Finally, she revealed that this was what exactly her father told her to advise me.

I did not get the job but instead got an important message that day. Your appearance will not assure a job but qualifications and experience alone can’t guarantee a job either. The perfect match would be an experienced and well qualified person with a proper groomed up appearance.

It’s been years since I have been working in an MNC bank and now every morning I rise and shine I see my own reflection in a manner to make a difference in my life.

Every time I use my Gillette Mach 3 I feel my confidence inspires me to accept the challenges life throws each time. And I always find myself ready for those challenges.

‘This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette”

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