As the bus picked speed, I could see the red brick buildings rushing past me, a whirl of red in a sea of white snow. Each building seemed to stand tall in all its majesty. These quaint, white-capped houses were telling me that their cozy spaces can match up to any 101 floor building that I might glimpse in NY. Soon, the mall, bank and food outlets gave way to the highway and we were racing to New York! The afternoon sun cast a yellow-orange glow; I was exhilarated, in spite of the sparse 2 hours of sleep I got the night before. The lecture from my relativity class that morning, and the notes from the orientation society meeting were still swirling in my head like white wisps of smoke. I think they were undergoing a chemical reaction – the knowledge of physics transformed into ideas related to investment banking and the orientation arrangements into the organization of my future answers during the interview for a position in Information Technology. Now when I think about it, it was ironic that I was not carrying my laptop; I reasoned that the distance would help articulate my passion for technology, just like thirst helps appreciate the taste of water.
I admit that at the ticket station, I was thankful that only the machines could see my nervousness – for one thing, there were something like 7 options at every stage of buying the ticket, not to mention that the station looked deserted and I had never traveled alone on a subway. Real life, as it turns out, is much kinder than I visualized in my head. My journey went smoothly and before I knew it, I was lifting my eyes to assorted glassy buildings reaching into the clouds, bordering the Wall Street. Each one seemed to announce an intention, their majestic presence rooting for the power in numbers. Walking amidst these giant structures, I strangely did not feel intimidated. Perhaps, it was the visual appreciation of the reflective surfaces, the play of light caused due to different angles in the architecture that took away the weight of its enormity. Perhaps, it was the thrill of being more than a mere spectator, of being invited into one of these buildings.
Lady luck was with me, and I needed her. The express bus that could have taken up to 45 minutes arrived within 5 minutes of my reaching the stop. A kind lady sold me a metro ticket and even had the right change when I needed to pay her. As I got off at my bus stop (whose name took awhile to learn), the bus driver kindly honked and let me know I was walking in the wrong direction. The weather was exceptionally good for the middle of New York winter – the wind in my face at 44 F felt amazing. My friend’s mother (whom I call ‘aunty’) gave me a warm welcome along with some delicious ziti with marinara sauce. After a lively discussion about the program and my interview, we retired to bed. I slept a blissful 8 hours, and wake up a few minutes before my alarm. By another stroke of luck I discovered a toothbrush that I had kept in my back some time ago – shiny teeth never hurt your chances in an interview. Fortunately, Aunty’s brothers who live/have lived downtown could help me research the New York transport system. I was ready to fly across Manhattan!
My interview lasted long, or so it seemed. Then again, it seemed like a terribly short time to say all that I had prepared. Ultimately, I think that it is not the quantity but quality that matters, not the numbers themselves, but the value they hold, and their relationships to each other that makes them significant. I managed to feel good, and I managed not to feel better than I should. The details of the interview will follow later when they are not as vivid as they are now, when I have gained enough distance in time.