August 4, 2008
Anjali stood at her doorstep for more than fifteen minutes waiting for Hriday to pick her up to the airport. Their close buddies, Ram, Archith and Kaushal were leaving to the U.S that night for their Masters. Two days down the line she has to 2 more of her friends, Vidur and Akhil, leaving to the U.S. As she waited for him to come, memories of the past year flashed through her mind.
All of them had had aspirations of doing their Masters in the US and prepared for the GRE and TOEFL together. The fun they had in the GRE class was unlimited. As the date of the exam neared, they got serious and started studying seriously hoping that higher the marks, better are the chances of getting funded by the univs. Little did Anjali expect what she had in store. Barrons was their only friend in the last few days before the exam and they scrambled the words into their heads like mad. Every words meaning and usage was on their fingertips.
The day of the exam dawned and everyone of the friends were nervous. They went through the whole thread of all forums in Orkut for possible questions and answers in Quants and Verbal section. They met at the Examination center and settled down for a 3 and half hour exam. Anjali was very nervous that she started trembling and lost her cool. Three hours passed like the wind and everyone was out discussing their score. Everyone had a decent score but Anjali was not happy with her score as she was second lowest amongst the friends. But anyways she decided to apply with her score as she thought she would get a decent univ of her choice.
Fate came into Anjali’s life in a month. Everyone of them began short listing their univs when Anjali’s parents break to her the news that she cannot do her masters because they have no money to fund her. She was heart broken. She felt that all her dreams came crashing down on her. It was not the first time that something of this sort happened to her. But what could she do when her father was just a Government employee? She had already taken a loan to do her B.E. Why didn’t her parents tell her this before she booked the dates for the GRE? Or why did they not explain the situation to her? Her mind was asking so many questions to her. Everything was Why why why.. She was totally shattered by the fact that she cannot carry on with her dreams along with her friends. She found out that everyone of her friends were either well to do or had someone sponsoring them for their studies while she had none or not even an option of taking a loan as her dad did not have a property or a bank balance. Her life came to a stand still. She felt like a loser. She felt that all her hard work had gone down the drain.
She did not want to spend time with her friends who were busy applying to the universities. Fortunately or unfortunately, Anjali was associated with one of the leading software development firms throughout her college days. She had applied for an internship with that company and had totally forgotten about it. She suddenly gets a call one night from a person in that company for a telephonic interview for the position of an intern. She jumped with joy. She thought she could compensate her not doing her M.S by this internship and try to slog her ass to become a full timer in the company. Her best friend, Vidur, was also happy that she has something to take her mind out of the depression. The interview went well and she was told by the concerned person that she had got through the process for an internship which dealt with promoting cool stuffs of the company to the end users. This was what Anjali expected. No coding.. Full of creativity.. And fun of course . But little did Anjali again realize that luck was not with her again.
There was a promised pay of $250 per month for the internship and Anjali decided that she would save the money to apply for Masters next fall. But then, the person who was her manager was a total creep. She felt she was a character in the book DILBERT! She slogged her ass but then that freak got all credit. She did not sign any forms which told that she would get paid and when she questioned her lead, all she got as a reply was “It is under process” or “I am working on it”. One month went by. There was no sign of her salary. Her parents were anxious. She was eager too. When asked for money again she got a reply that “I am working on it”. Also Anjali was banned from talking to any Full time employees about work. She was new to the corporate world. She followed her lead’s advice blindly and he was taking her for a ride as she was naive.
Two months passed and there was still no sign of salary. Parents started complaining. But Anjali was patient. She had a bad habit of trusting people blindly and she was trusting this lead guy. Lest did she know that he was taking her for granted. The 3rd month also had passed and she started losing her patience. She relaized that she was not gonna get paid easily because she was not on the company pay roll. Her anger was out of bounds. She reports her problem to the Program Manager who was ignorant about all that was happening in her tenure. He promises her that he would take necessary steps to get her paid asap.
She gets a blast from her lead 2 days down the line for bringing up the issue to the Program Manager. She had got into the right company but was with the wrong lead. Her life was more messed up. All her friends had gotta call from various top Univs and although she had got placed in another MNC, she wanted to be a FT at the company where she was interning at. But, her bad luck that things got way out of control and she got only 50% of what she was offered as her stipend. She became totally heart broken because her parents were cursing her as she was not smart enough to get paid for what she was working. And all the curses, she attributed to her manager.
The honk from the car startled her from her memories and Hruday was there in the car along with Kashyap. She hopped into the car. How she wished she could go to the US with her friends. It was the peak season of students flying out of country to go to the US for their higher studies. She started having a feeling of guilt that she was a bad luck charm. She worked hard for so many things in life which she never realized. She stopped expecting out of life. Lots of thoughts were running on her mind, when Hruday yelled at her asking her to get down as they were already in the airport.
She got down and went to see off her friends. They were standing there with their familes, who were with moist eyes. Anjali saw around her that there were more students who were bidding bye to their families. Wasn’t she also supposed to be one them flying off to build her career? But she was here stuck, who had lost both her masters as well as a full time job in that company which she died to get into.
It was soon time for Ram, Archith and Kaushal to check in. Anjali controlled her tears. She was losing her gang to Uncle Sam. She was staying back in India unlike rest of her friends. All the three of them go in proceeding towards the check in. Anjali stood looking at them hoping that they would turn back to wave at her. Ram turns back to wave. Will that be the last wave? When will she see them again? She might go to the US through her employer company, yes. But, nothing beats going to the US as a student who would learn to be independent and live life the hard way to learn the intricacies of it. She looks at Vidur, who would be leaving 2 days later with moist eyes. He assures me that she would do her Masters definitely and that she need not lose hope. But, will she? Will her dreams come true. Will she be able to give a Last wave to someone from the check-in section of the airport? The last wave brings a tear of joy as well as sadness because you are going to puruse your dream but leaving behind your folks and taking a huge responsibility with you.
The last wave! Is it a happy moment or a sad moment? The feelings just cannot be described someone who has not experienced it.