In 1994, I was working in Dhanam, a local vernacular publication, as assistant editor. During a press visit to Tuticorin I met KVV Charya (Who is currently working as Business Editor of The Hans India). Charya was working as Hyderabad correspondent of Mumbai-based Dalal Street Journal which was the largest circulated financial publication in India then. He told me that there could be an opening and advised me to send an application.
I didn’t have requisite qualification for a stock investment journal. Still I have sent an application for the post of special correspondent. I have discussed with one of my colleagues (he was with Times of India) He said:”Oh, Uday, I am sorry; I don’t think you will get the job. May be you can ask somebody to recommend you. Do you know somebody?”
I smiled and said: “Yes- I know somebody. Even if the entire world recommends me and this person doesn’t recommend, I won’t get any job. And if everybody in the world stands against me and this person recommends, I would get that job…”
“Oh! Who is such a powerful person?” he asked.
I just pointed my finger out to the temple opposite to us. It was a goddess Durga temple. He just laughed aloud and told me: “Joking? You are nuts”.
I have got an interview call from the South Indian head H Venkat Ram who was stationed in Bangalore. There were three other candidates apart from me. All of them were qualified than me, that too specific to this post- I am MA in literature, but they had MBA, Finance degrees as well as exposure to national business publications.
Venkat interviewed me. I lost all hopes. My answers to most of his questions were “no” and “I don’t know”. Then I left. Next day morning, my friend U.S.Kutty (head of Sobhagya Advertising) called me and said: “Venkat has enquired about few people including you…I told him that you are a honest and most dependable person that I know of. But he said you do not have required qualifications and eligibility…I supported you, Uday but…I am sorry…” I thanked him but I didn’t want anything without merit-base.
But I got a courier from Venkat on the third day itself – an appointment letter! He agreed to my salary requirements. That was a real pleasant surprise for me. I remembered the joke that I made about Durga as my supporter. Then I thought about the other candidates, who were better than me. I felt sad and down.
I explained to my mother about this incident. “I don’t deserve it Amma (mother). Wouldn’t it be unfair and unethical from my side?” My mother told me: “You have not done anything wrong here. You have not used any unduly human influence or recommendation. When god decides that you deserve it, why should you worry? God will always go by merit and would balance everything. God might have in stored better thing for them too.”
All those three candidates – two of them became my good friends – are well settled in foreign countries now – Canada, USA and Singapore. All of them are doing extremely well! I have stayed with one of them while I was in Chicago few years back. He was heading a department of Chicago Sun.
I have joined DSJ. Venkat considered me as his younger brother. After one year Venkat left for ‘Asian Age’. Then he became the GM (Corporate Communications) of BPL Mobile, Bangalore. Later, I also left DSJ to join US-based IDG newswire (the first technology news agency in the world) as Indian correspondent. After a couple of years, Venkat introduced me to Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BPL chairman then, now a Member of Parliament) to interview the latter for the Global Wireless magazine. Venkat would call me once in a while. He never talked about his personal whereabouts or family.
Years passed. One day, while I was in my home city Cochin, Venkat invited me to Taj Residency where he had checked-in (BPL had Kerala telecom license then). We had dinner together. After dinner we went to the balcony and sat there watching backwaters joining sea. Suddenly he said:”Uday, I wanted to tell you something – this has been haunting me for last few years. I still do not have any explanation for this…”
“Do you remember the day that I had interviewed you first?”
“Yes – I do”
“All other candidates were better and smarter than you. The moment I sent you out, I heard somebody from my behind telling me to rope you in. I can’t explain, but I have heard it very clearly. Such thing never happened in my life before or after.”
“Really?” I was shocked to hear that! I told Venkat about the incident with Durga. We both remained speechless for some time. How can this be explained? Is it just a coincidence? Or my real-self projected a manifested self to resonance with his higher self? Was it Durga? Or was it just his hallucination? It is a totally unbelievable experience for me.
We talked a lot that night. Venkat was a Kannadiga Brahmin. “You have never put me down Uday…I found a most dependable person in you…” he praisd me. I left him late night. While shaking hands, he said he would come to meet me next time with his family. And he wanted to see my family too. But it never happened.
Venkat left for Bangalore next day. Few days later, Mr.MD Varghese, the business editor or Malayala Manorama, called me over phone and said: “Uday, did you know, your friend, Venkat has passed away.”
That was a bigger shock. Was the purpose of our last meeting just to inform me what happened during the interview?
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