MIDWAY : Sour grapes

I come across many friends whose girlfriends have point-blank declined to marry the poor boys. Their cardinal sin? They were not government employees. For most Nepalis, the allure of sarkari jagir is still hard to shun. Once one gets in, he stays put. He can loll back and chill out in his comfortable chair for the rest of his life. No danger whatsoever of getting the sack. Ah, life!

Umpteen songs have been sung and countless articles penned glorifying the settled-for-life government jobs. Even as the condition of government offices gets worse by the day, people continue to daydream about making their way into sarkari nokari.

No private sector job comes anywhere near it in lucrativeness. So the fierce competition to get in.

Before graduating from college, I had never given a career with government a serious thought. Hence on finishing college, I quickly joined a private firm. But the majority of my kith and kin wanted me to enter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Either Sital Niwas or scouring the seven seas! And no risk of getting the boot!” exhorted my better-half. Needless to say, my mum and friends joined her ranks without much ado.

I could take it no longer and decided to take the plunge. But while I was filling up necessary forms at the office of the Public Service Commission, I met an old and chubby officer. Peering over my resume and certificates, he muttered: “Why are you leaving a good job at the university for a job like this? Been here for the last 18 years; got nowhere. Don’t lose your bearings, boy!”

If I was ever in an impasse, this was it. I could not back down, not now. I made up my mind to register for the entrance exam. Despite my dithering, I was determined to have a go at it. I read and read and read. Umpteen books and even more notes. But astonishingly, amid all

my preparations, I completely forgot the day of the exam.

Yes, I missed it. Even if I had recalled the exam date, it was unlikely that I would have made it. For I was a bit under the weather that day. It was then that I realised it was never meant for me. Otherwise how could I have missed an exam when I had never missed one in my entire life? Yuck, those sour grapes.