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Introduce yourself.

Before I could begin the recital, that other guy inside me tugged at the vocal chords.
Please let me do it, he said, just this once.

No way, I ignored him and started the performance, freshly oiled from the umpteen rehearsals and poetic workshops.
"I'm Murphy, from Kannur, Kerala. I did my Engineering in electronics from... "

Words froze as the guy pulled the chord back again, like it was made of lycra.
That prick has thrived inside me, and grown more persistent through the years.
Stronger, louder and older.
He now demanded to be heard.

Look Murphy. You know where this is going. He whispered into my diaphragm.

Where? I asked, nonchalantly.

If you'd cared to notice the board outside, you'd have seen this is a fucking investment bank.
Do you know what that means?

No. I blinked. So?

So? So my dear loser, let's get the hell out of here.
Before you open up your ignorance for public display and embarass yourself again.

No man, you dont understand. I've changed. I'm an MBA grad now.
Haven't you heard our daily morning prayer?
I know everything. I can do anything.
If there is something I dont know or cant do, it doesnt exist.
I know everything. I can do anything.
If there is some...

Murphy, Murphy... Murphy! The impatient brat hit hard on my eardrums.

Ouch! What??

Look, let's get this straight. You maybe a pro at this, but I'm done with my share of insults. Okay?
I just cant let you walk me into yet another of these horror shows.

C'mon man, its just an interview, I pacified him.

Yeah right! My balls it is.
When they ask you something you dont know, you answer things that make a couplet from the Aramaic Bible sound kindergarten.
And in the rare occasion that they ask something you do know, you answer some mugged up horseshit and make them regret asking at all.
Then they laugh at you and...

Hello, what the... I interrupted. No one's EVER laughed at me.

Yeah well, don't they often say that you are this great godsend guy and blah-blah... but not suited for their profile?

Yeah that they do...

He sighed dejectedly.
From where I sit dude, i can see much more. They all laugh their asses off!

Huh?? What the...?? Fuck you... you noisy.. irritating prick. I was furious. That's so insulting.

Yeah, isn't it? Welcome to my world.
Okay look, let's forget all that. Just lemme deal this guy, and we'll walk out of here before you know it.
Jobless of course, but with our heads held high atleast.
I also happen to be your conscience, man. So trust me.
What say?

I considered. If what he says is true, i've been laughed at for quite sometime now.
Unless there was a Guiness entry for that, it probably wasn't a good idea anymore.

I looked at him and frowned.

Uhm? What say? So shall I?, he asked hopefully.

I nodded reluctantly.

Whoa! Okay. Thanks man, you wont ever have to regre...

Ugh... just take over the microphone and get it over with it already, will you?

Okay okay cool... Sit back partner.


Murphy II got into action. He analyzed the interviewer.
No older than 35 years tops. Well dressed.
A pair of glasses covering a pair of eyes that were full of life not long ago.
Sarcastic aggression and a play on youthful freedom would piss him in no time.

Sir, you were saying?

You were introducing yourself gentleman, He grunted.

Ah yes! well, incidentally it's all there in the resume sir. He pointed at the three page garbage.
There, before you.

The man shot two glances through his glasses. One each at Murphy II and the garbage.

Okay well, seems you are a BTech in electronics. Why the jump from engineering to MBA?

There we go, thought Murphy II. Bite him.

Hmm... A bad decision sir, truly.

Jumping to MBA?

No. Doing the Btech.

So the jumping did pay off?

Well, I didn't say that now, did I?

So would you say that?

Uhm well... if I do land this job, I'd have to say that now, wouldn't I?

The man stroked his forehead, peering hard. This was indeed a strange candidate.

What do you know about banking?

Ah well...

And no textbook definitions please...

Thats great sir, cos I hardly know any. Ha ha.
So anyway, banks are usually full of lockers. People keep and take their money from it.

Okay, only that?

No... well, some just do the taking part. You know, the bank robbery and stuff.

He paused. A fleeting wave of suspicion.

So how many types of banks do you know?

Well... (counting) three.

Really? Which all? He continued checking the resume.

Money banks, Blood banks, and tsk... sperm banks.

The man dropped the resume.

Time to leave, thought Murphy II. Mission Accomplished.

So have you heard of investment banks?

(What the...)... Yeah sure.

You know what they do?

Yeah i mean... they are also usually full of lockers. People keep and take money.
You know, in..vest..ment and out..vestment.

Okay, so what is NPA?

(Christ. He is not buying any of this. Up the sarcasm, Murphy II urged himself)

Is it like the National... P.. Political... Agency? No wait a minute, must be Alliance. Right?

Hmm... then what is a Non Performing Asset?

Gee I dont know mann... But if you wanna see a 'Non Performing Ass', ask my mom.
She calls me something close to that.

Interesting... so do you happen to have any specialised skillset?

Yea! I can blow perfect smoke rings even in the middle of Katrina.

Okay, so where do you want to be five years from now?

Ah well, maybe on a beachfront villa in Florida keys... Pina Colada on one hand...
and on the other, hot chicks with titties the size of hawaiian watermel..

Okay okay got it, got it..

He looked down; thinking.
Murphy II broke into cold sweat.
If I'm not outside this room by now, which I obviously am not, something is really wrong.
Or is he Father Teresa?

The man cleared his throat.

So why should I hire you?

Trust me man, you shouldn't.

Then why did you appear for the interview?

Well, dad didnt go to work today.

So he's at home, and your idea of escape is an interview table!

No actually, he's outside. He took me here.

Oh now that's sad. He smiled.

Tell me about it.

A minute passed. The man kept peering through Murphy II. He felt stripped.

What is it that you are playing at, Murphy?

Huh sir?

You obviously dont want this job. So what is it that you would like to do?

Uh well, I rather like the idea of doing nothing. Wouldn't that be fun?

Ha ha. Sure yes! Only the world doesn't quite work that way.

Not yet, it doesn't.

Another few seconds passed in silence.
Murphy II lost the plot completely.
The man cleared his throat again.

Boy, you are what I looked like 10 years ago. So I will tell you something.

Murphy and Murphy II looked at each other.

I always wanted to play rock. I played well.
A friend of mine wanted to play football. He played well too.
I do not know what is it that you want to do.
But, if you dont respect your instincts now, you will regret it every fucking day of your life.

Trust me.

The Murphys didn't blink.

So good luck with it.

He flipped out his personal card.

And if you ever need a job, you have my number. We all have to eat, don't we?
But I hope you never call.

The Murphys stood up and shook hands with him.

And if you need someone to hang out with, you have my resume, said Murphy II.

They parted over laughter.

The door creaked open.

A female voice screeched.

Next candidate, Murphy. Is Murphy here? Hey, please wake him up. That pink shirt.

Shit. I opened my eyes. Shit.

This way please.

Bloody Docomo assholes.


Good Morning.
Please Introduce Yourself.

I waited for a tug at the vocal chords. Nothing happened.
Looks like it's just me then.

I inhaled deeply, and recited dutifully.

I'm Murphy, from Kannur, Kerala. I did my Engineering in electronics from LBS College of Engg. and MBA from... (*some text missing*)

The Curious Case of Athul Chathukutty | TNB