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Working, Living and Nothingness

On job prospects, competitive examinations, working in Manipur and the consequences of such a fanciful daydream  



Imphal

Generally when we are selected for an interview or clear an examination for any kind of job it is a given that excitement follows such a triumphant moment. That ought to be as clear as Andro booze. Yet the condition can be so foggy and at times, simply too hard to take in as much as the local adulterated shots that are available generously in drinking stalls mushroomed around every neighbourhood in my hometown.

The overall condition should not be a surprise though, because in the province—where there are more than 700,000 unemployed youths out of a total population of 2.8 million—every job comes with a price tag. Almost all of these scarce, and sometimes much coveted, jobs are with the government institutes and agencies, or shortly the public sector.

Meanwhile, we have been collectively nose-diving into the deepest gorges of economic underdevelopment. The prevailing sociopolitical conditions and the countless crises and unrest have only made the bitterest and most damaging cocktails of frustration for the ever-increasing number of educated youths. When we add guns and drugs into this mêlée, one of the results is the birth of a million bastards.  

Private enterprises, which have gained ground in the last decade or so, are still in its infant stage. Innovative people have been able to open shops albeit with their portion of grievances; and they still go on yet not many of us can sell as many as we are mere buyers. It only follows that the majority of us are out, looking for greener pastures anywhere else in every part of the globe but in and around this forbidden town. 

New Delhi

For the last eight years, I have been working here in several media and publishing organisations in the National Capital Region. However, frankly if given an option my first choice will be a job in my hometown. An unreasonable amount of attachment with the place has always been shaping my worldview though the reality is that I’m displaced while belonging neither here nor there. In the same confessional breath, I’d not miss the place if I move to somewhere else though we have a tendency to be, provided we have stayed in that particular place for a good amount of time.   

So this time around, I appeared in a test and cleared it. Now the interview is due. The word on the street is that the officials are waiting for the magical green bags from the prospective candidates—the green bag that can humble an official of the highest level, the same green bag that separates the privileged from the deprived. 

This is when I want to shoot myself although I’m too poor to buy a gun. Who wants to die for work anyway? When my mood is in its proper corner, I want to live, not really long, but to a little over 150. That would be real living and not simply making a living with jobs that suck you like a greedy child slurping a full-uncut mango. FYI, you are the mango.

Here and There

Nevertheless the case is no different in other parts of the country. To take a random example, a couple of years ago, The Hindu reported that the MNREGS beneficiaries paid Rs. 37 crore a year bribe for jobs while 24% of the allocations from the scheme was misappropriated in the same time period. Then, the job scam at the reputed National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research some time ago has proven ‘scientifically’ that corruption will ceaselessly continue until a nuclear holocaust breaks out.

According to the Transparency International in 2014, India is ranked as the 85th least-clean country, sharing the position with Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, Jamaica, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Zambia and Burkina Faso, amongst the 175 listed countries.

To have an idea about Manipur, its neighbour, Myanmar is 156th! This is not a coincidence if we consider the institutionalization of corruption in this part of the world. In Manipur, the government education department holds the unofficial record for the most corrupt and the second spot should go to the police department, which holds the first position in a pan-India study.

To conclude, it is better to move forward with a certain sense of discretion. But it does not mean that we have to remain helpless if the blowing wind carries us away in its direction like everybody else. Resistance is a way of life. A job is just a source of living. The real excitement is going where the heart takes us. Others are mere fillers in this fleeting life.

PS      My aim in life is to earn till forty. Then I can destroy the state assembly and go for a road trip to the Golden Triangle via Burma.

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