The Song of a Single Mom: On the Road to El Dorado

I have never met stranger people in my life as much as I have met in the last one year. The road to El Dorado, I guess, is fraught with strange situations and even stranger men and women.

My friend R told me about a recruitment consultant who had helped a friend of hers find a job who was in a similar situation as mine. She passed on my contact to this person who promptly called me. He started off by saying two things. Was I extremely young, because that is what my voice sounded like.  A young girl’s. And I could trust him with anything. If I was a little freaked out by these strange declarations, I said nothing. The limits to how much I can take in search of that elusive job gets tested every day.

The consultant called me up one Saturday and told me he wanted to meet me. It was on the other side of town and temperatures were easily touching 50 degrees celsius. But I threw common sense to the wind before I took an auto to the Barista coffee shop at Priya cinema complex. Now, I used to love the Priya complex when I went to college in Delhi. Young hip people hung out there in cool clothes sipping coffee from fancy tea and coffee shops. The Priya movie hall was a student’s dream where you could watch movies for Rs. 5 only in full air-conditioned comfort. This was one of the few feel good places in Delhi which sold happiness at cheap discounted prices. I thought visiting the complex some 14 years later brought back happy memories. And a job lead to go with it.

The consultant turned out to be an overweight, middle-aged Sardarji with a dull turban. He could almost be Saint Nick if you dressed him in a red robe, but just almost. There was a meanness in his eyes that immediately struck me. I was expecting him to ask me questions about my varied work experience. It after all, spanned over more than a decade over a variety of verticals. But Mr. Consultant seemed more interested in the lurid details of my break up, with the constant “you can trust me” line. And he told me that he needed me to be able to be absolutely honest with him before he could help me. Before I started driving myself crazy trying to understand what exactly that meant in professional terms, he told me that I needed to tell where exactly I was in terms of my divorce. Before I started answering that, he moved on to “was there alcohol involved”? On my incredulous No, he said then there “must have been another woman.”  I opened my mouth to say something but closed it soon enough because  by then he went on to describe in lurid detail how one of the women he helped getting a job had a paedophile for a husband who did bad things to their daughters. He also told me about parties he had been to in my home town of Calcutta where cricketers and film stars held orgies and swapped partners.

I wish I had a mirror where I could see the expression on my face. What did I get myself into? This person clearly got off on describing sexual deviation with strangers, while constantly branding himself completely trustworthy. Why did I not excuse myself and walk out?

Later, as I looked back over the morning, I wondered, what was it that forced me sit down and listen to a clearly demented man? Surely, I could not be that desperate? But I guess, I came across as one. I thought of myself as being desperate for a job and projected that onto the next person.  Why else would they next story touch the nadir of the morning deviant sex discussion session?

Mr. Almost  St. Nick started describing massage sessions at massage parlours in Thailand. He went on to describe in great detail how Indian men and white men had sex sessions with the masseurs in Bangkok. But he was always extremely respectful of the masseurs.  Always. I almost opened my mouth to tell him that most of the masseurs in Bangkok are she-males, but his eyes shone with such glee while describing one such act he had witnessed, that I decided to shut up and zone him out.

I was upset at myself and my desperation for a job that made me sit through two hours of pure drivel. But even though I did not have the guts to walk out of the coffee shop, that day, I made a vow to myself.   I became extremely clear of one thing. Going forward, I would never show the world my desperation. For the world, I am just fine. The job would come when it did. And if it didn’t, I would try to knock on other doors.

The proverbial rainbow will never lie beyond the next lurid tale. Nothing in the world was worth this. And I would never again give any crackpot who got off on being trustworthy to “pretty girls who are alone in the big bad city of Delhi” that pleasure.

After two hours he told me he did not have any jobs for me, but would I please take the email addresses  of four other consultants? By then I was too irritated to even care. I smiled calmly at him and took the addresses down, not even wanting to use any of them.

His paunch jiggled as he squeezed himself into the car. He thanked me for coming and meeting him. I thanked him for the iced tea with as much disdain that I could manage, barely mustering a smile.  The pleasure was all mine, he said. I didn’t want to argue on that and walked back into sanity.


About roadlesstravelledby

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference
This entry was posted in bringing up a child as a single mom, deviants, family, job, job search, new beginnings, single mom, starting over in Delhi and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Song of a Single Mom: On the Road to El Dorado

  1. alice says:

    You can turn all these pieces of your experiences into a column for any English daily. Just write in and ask. I think it’s better to work from home. Oh, one more thing, I feel like punching his paunch. 🙂

  2. ar ki likhi says:


  3. S says:

    And next time don’t just sit there and listen, but give a tight one where it hurts the most!!! 🙂

  4. Joy says:

    Sick men come in all shapes and sizes!!! However I do agree with you…..first of all I don’t want to term your situation as desperate….also its not something everyone should know about….not even the head hunter!!!!

  5. tumpa says:

    I agree with s. shud have kicked his butt… excellent read, though..

  6. Aeshna says:


  7. Ch. Roy says:

    Excellent write…….. your descriptive language communicates with the common reader, please listen to Alice and provoke yourself (with whatever reason) to print them in the print-media covering social issues. And, yes…. BTW – I shall see you in another 2-3 months, then I will request you to go back to this recruiter and fix an appointment once again to meet near Priya – only this time I will meet him (with or without you). Hope he probes into my life, makes queries on my personal issues and hears me out… promise he will spend at least 4 hours then …… It would be an apt revenge for you…. 😉

  8. Bhaswati says:

    this is amazing and so are you.

  9. alice says:

    Sometimes, you have to change the course or profession in your life. I did. To quote you: “And if it didn’t, I would try to knock on other doors.” You’ve said it yourself. So….?

  10. alice says:

    Send it to not just one but try as many as possible. You have to throw many stones before one hits the target. But don’t feel rejected or dejected if some don’t even have the courtesy to reply you.

  11. alice says:

    I feel more strongly about the job search posts which speak of the plights of women, especially single moms in India than the post on memories of your mother. These are the social issues and the harsh realities that the world needs to know about. Those pieces are njected with humour as well. If you want to start from your first post, you can use a pseudo for yourself and the people involved. I know, some people would think that you are airing or washing dirty laundry in public but you must be brave to face that. Posting them on blogs makes no difference, except that the readership may be smaller.

  12. drbillmackin says:

    I really interested in your post. Actually I posted a similar related article in my blog regarding this issue. What is your opinion about it?


  13. reiki says:

    I consider this article very interesting and rich in content, would also be very nice to discuss issues that are present in this paper.
    They still agree with what you said and I believe we can always find new ideas for improvement.
    Thank you very much to enable the vision of my post.
    thanks again

    Dott.Lorenzo Dall’Olio
    Professor Economics and Commerce Marketing Bocconi University
    Usui and Karuna Reiki Master
    <a href=" ” title=”REIKI”>

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