MOTIVATING: Time never stays same – struggling story of an Indian Engineer
By Zahack Tanvir
We need to have patience and wait for the right time to make the hay while the sun shines.
I share the same type of story like those who after completing their studies desperately hunt for jobs, but continuous rejection at job interviews make them lonely and depressed.
My father was a gulf-returnee, he lived in Saudi Arabia for eight years; he thought of getting back to his family and make a living here in Hyderabad.
But the things turned out unexpected, soon after his return someone insisted him to invest his savings in a business, he promptly believed his friend and invested all the savings he did in Saudi Arabia in a private business, but unfortunately the owners of the firm embezzled with the investments and dashed away.
After losing all his savings, he did not give up hope in Allah, though he had to bear our daily expenses as well as study expenses.
He then started working for Isfahani tea as a daily wage earner and would get hand-to-mouth money to fill our bellies.
Later he had to quit that job and work for a private company that sells products home to home. He did that too for us, he went door to door to sell home appliances and earn a living for our family.
My father’s perseverance always left a great impact on our minds. I remember the days when my mom would struggle hard. We had no private property, no bank balance and no solid financial back-up. So a great zeal in me was to anyhow work and earn to support my family.
After my intermediate, I applied in all the major engineering colleges of Hyderabad. Some gave out the seats in return of huge “donations” under management quota, and I was left with Computer Science and Engineering as this stream of engineering was not much in demand those days, so management would give it without “donations”.
I accepted it and relied in Allah that this would anyway help me in employment in future.
The time came up for submission of fees, in 2003, the fees structure of engineering was 22000 Rs/-. My family was running out of money.
My mother would sleep restless at nights and my father would ask his friends and acquaintances to lend him at least 22000 Rs/- for my fees. As the days went pass, almost everyone in our known circles denied lending money.
One of my father’s friend promised to lend us required amount but with 2.5% interest rate. No sooner we came to know about the interest based transaction, we refused as taking and giving interest is prohibited in Islam; and I personally felt why to start a career on prohibition.
Someone told us, ‘if you go by the rules and conditions of Islam, you cannot prosper’, but we had firm conviction that the only solution is Islam, so we did not want to do anything in haste that goes against its tenets.
Since the act was purely for the sake of Allah, Allah helped us at the last moment; one of my uncles called up my mother and eventually my fees was arranged.
During my engineering studies, I would work for part-time, pretending to be a well-qualified teaching faculty at a computer institute, where I purposefully did not disclose about my on-going studies, as they needed professionals not students for teaching purpose.
I was confident that I would do justice to that job. However, the institute was an upcoming one; so good salary could not be expected.
I completed all my semesters without backlogs and passed engineering with distinction in 2007. My college’s placement cell invited only 2 companies for “on-campus” recruitment, but I failed to get selected.
The only hurdle, I had was to get over the aptitude written test, which every IT company puts to filter-out slow candidates who cannot quickly solve arithmetic and logical queries.
Every time, I prepare for screening–test for those companies, I would practice every problem of RS Agarwal’s ‘Verbal & Non-Verbal’, ‘Quantitive Aptitude’, Shakuntala Devi’s ‘Puzzles to Puzzle You’, and other samples.
But again, the non-encouraging environment at my college where everyone plans to fly abroad and lacking of skills made me an unemployed youth for about seven months after my engineering though I possessed good scores.
During those seven months, I would go to every IT company’s campus-drive and interview. In fact, my friend and I would go dropping CVs in IT companies’ drop-box everyday with a hope to get a call.
However, to overcome my expenses, I started working for a start-up at Red hills, Hyderabad, which paid me based on number of trainees.
One day, my father glanced over an article in local Urdu newspaper about a Government initiative for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Minorities of India.
The scheme was purely meant for backward communities in India, among those communities one that is made to be backward is Muslim community.
The scheme was entitled ‘STP-Special Training Program’, since it was out of the ordinary kind of training; and through that scheme Government of Andhra Pradesh provided food, accommodation, laptops, wifi connection, technical training, soft-skills training, and all sorts of self-development trainings for FREE.
The screening round of STP was easier compared to corporate companies, the cut-off percentage of marks was very less and personal interviews were quite easy. The whole idea of STP was to bridge the gap between IT companies and colleges.
For six complete months, they trained us 12 hours daily. Representatives of corporate IT giants were invited to give motivational talks at our place. After four months, we were confident enough to face any kind of interview.
The aptitude questions that would once scare us became our acquaintance.
My friends and I would conduct group-discussions among ourselves to improve our group-participating skills.
We would interview each other on technical topics, at times we became too serious in even scolding each other.
After six months, was the time for IT companies to hold campus recruitment drive, and we were fully armed.
The first company to come was Infosys; due to negative marking in the assessment, out of 280 students, 32 could clear first round of interview; and I was among them.
Our program manager promised us that all the 32 would get selected, but finally 16 were selected, and I was NOT among those 16. I seriously cried that night sitting alone on the terrace, talking to my family about my rejection.
After rejection in Infosys, the second company to come was an Indian company specialized in SAP technologies.
It was 3rd Ramadan of 2008; we did ‘suhr’ and started making preparations for interviews. Exactly at 8 in the morning, interviewers arrived in our campus; with so much of excitement and zeal we started off.
After checking our eligibility, we were allowed to do the written test. The interviewers announced the declaring of results at 2:30 pm. I was little nervous about the results and my previous rejection was anyway haunting me.
At 2:30 pm, a female colleague came and congratulated me about my selection in the first round and wished me best of luck. Due to negative marking, 38 out of 280 students could clear written-test.
Later 38 students were made in groups of seven to eight students each. Every team was given a topic to speak for 15 minutes.
After all the teams were done, we were made to wait up to 5 pm. Our program manager called me and congratulated me for passing the group discussion.
Later, HR called me in and asked me what I knew about their company; I told whatever I had in my mind. Interestingly it was the time for breaking the fast. He offered me Samosas, but I politely refused telling him that I was fasting. He greeted me ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ with a good smile. I smiled him back.
He asked me about my hobbies, I said, I am interested in making short-videos with moral messages and I love video-narration and video-editing. Since majority of the students there said about their hobbies as playing cricket, listening to music and reading novels.
This hobby of mine caught his attention. However, he remembered me for long as ‘Director’.
Finally they selected seven students. Among seven, two of those Hijaabi ladies and I were the lucky ones.
With the on-campus recruitment drives, majority of the 280 students were selected in various IT companies.
After working for two years, I left it to join the company where I was first rejected. But this time, I was selected with excellent pay-package.
In 2012, I got a six months contractual job offer from King Abdullah University of Jeddah, though my relatives and friends discouraged me as I was offered Germany as my new work-location through Infosys.
Gradually, Allah opened ways and I worked in HP Arabia for Saudi Electricity Company in Dammam for nine months, then moved into another project and then the cycle continued. Eventually, they hired me into their support team.
It’s been six years since I came to Saudi Arabia, and Allah has blessed me with what I could not even dream of some five years ago.
I don’t want to brag about my possessions, spouse, children and the indefinite blessings. All I say, I have been given beyond my level.
We need to have patience and wait for the right time to make the hay while the sun shines. Majority of us get influenced by loose-talks and flattery, and fail to have far vision to understand what can be achieved with patience and perseverance.
However, in any case, Allah has set time and moment for you and nothing can go before or after the specified time.
Article has been taken from Zahack Tanvir’s Facebook Notes.
Zahack Tanvir is also a regular blogger and vlogger, he also holds diploma in Journalism from London School of Journalism.