Friday, February 7, 2014

A Dodo's Reading List for the Resumé

Having passed my CA finals recently and not having found the modesty to not mention it at every possible opportunity, like the one above, I am yet to reach the point where the feeling finally sinks in. My parents have been trying to make me feel like a Chartered Accountant through words that sound like, “now you’re free to do whatever you want; choose wisely” but literally translate to “we will always have the power to veto your decision of a career path, the girl of your choice and the kind of pictures/posts you put up on facebook”. To compensate for the lack of authority in areas that really matter, I’ve been given the power to interview and select trainees who I think are fit enough to work in our firm.

Yes, I get to ask cliché pseudo-smart shit like “tell me five reasons why I should not select you”, to which the smartass replies with “my handwriting is not very neat”, thinking that it’s a safe answer to give because these days everyone works on the computer and typing speed is more important than one’s handwriting. However, I get to own him immediately after when I tell him that for the first three months his job will be to fill government applications that are required to be filled by hand, and he is unfit for the said position. But before I can enjoy my moment, the wonderful hobby called “reading” glares at me from his resumé and I can literally spell out the books and authors he will mention in the next two minutes.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If only Paulo Coelho were a Bollywood fan, he’d have figured how his book made record sales in the Indian sub-continent only because the very few who had read the book and also watched Om Shanti Om spread the word on the grapevine that the novella takes inspiration from Shahrukh Khan’s, “Kehte hain kisi cheez ko agar dil se chaho toh saari kayanath tumhe usse milane ki koshish me lag jaati hai”. Consequently, the bhed-chaal just bought copies off traffic signals to feel patriotic and go ape-shit about Mera-Bharat-Mahan and Shahrukh-is-so-romantic at the same time.

In case you mention Paulo Coelho as your favorite author, please make sure you do it not because the orange colored pirated copy on your book shelf is just a little over a hundred-fifty pages long, making it the longest story you’ve ever read, but because you want to be bitchslapped for not even knowing the names of two other books written by the Brazilian author.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Only firm believers and practitioners of the Secret mention the book during an interview; which is something I can say with unshakeable faith because I’m sure the interviewee had already visualized the interview in his head fifty-six times and made himself believe that talking about the law of attraction would really impress the interviewer. However, truth be told, a person spends more time feeling the smooth picture of the wax seal on the cover than reading what the book actually has to say, which is: ask, believe, receive.

I won’t blame the poor “reader” kid though. He’s seen the secret work for people like Vivek Oberoi, who “asked” for trouble when he messed with Salman bhai, “believed” in Aishwarya’s love for his silky hair, and then “received” one tight slap from the twitterati when he compared his performance to that of Heath Ledger’s. Really worked for him!

But, going through a few pages that look like an adult’s version of a kindergarten pictorial story book, in which the idea is repeated again and again and again and again so that the little five year olds understand it better, does not count as reading!

Three Books by Chetan Bhagat

If a movie adaptation actually turns out to be better than the book, you can safely say that it’s not the director who is brilliant, but the book that is shitty. I must clarify though that I do not hate Chetan Bhagat. I’ve enjoyed reading some of his stories like they’re the first drafts for a Bollywood B-grader. But, it pains me immensely when a person mentions Bhagat as his favorite author. It’s all the more ridiculous because the so called reader has read not more than three books by Chetan, and the reason why he stopped was not because he realized they were the three mistakes of his life, but because he then took up a job requiring him to spend more than one night at the call centre.

The Monk who sold His Ferrari & 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Either of these two books will feature in the list because the interviewee:
-had been hearing about them at personality development seminars and other places where you’d form a crappy social circle
-found them for cheap at a traffic signal
-makes him look intelligent in front of his Chetan Bhagat reading friends
-has learnt up the names of the authors but not cared to read the books because oh-gawd-so-boring!
-thinks it is still safe to mention it because every goddamn self-help book under the sun has the same things to say.
-has read The Secret as well as quoted Shiv Khera’s “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently” in the one debate he participated in during school. So he can pass off shit from there in either of these without really getting caught.
-the interviewer has them on his shelf but hasn’t read them either because oh-gawd-so-boring!

Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Realizing that all our purchases are made at traffic signals, it’s easy to just grab one pirated book seller and list down all his items for sale in such an anthology. However, I will give some extra points to the person who has read the Da Vinci Code, provided he also admits to having read Angels & Demons and getting inspired to design ambigrams thereafter.

Even if the interviewee has not read anything apart from these two books by Brown, I will not judge him for calling him his favorite author because it takes talent to make stories about the church and dying naked old men interesting.

And now for the one answer that will guarantee a throw-up for the interviewer and throw-out for the interviewee:

The Newspaper

“So what were the headlines of today?”
“Sir, today I did not read it because I had to prepare for this interview!”

Image Source:


  1. Interesting!
    Would you add 'My experiements with truth' to the list?
    Had you been the interviewee,which five books would you've mentioned?
    Don't bypass this Q

    1. Yo! So, I don't really put "reading" as a hobby on my resume because:
      1. It's too common and doesn't grab the interviewer's attention
      2. For the past few years, I don't really find the time to read as many books as I used to in school

      I do a lot of online reading before going to bed though. If I were to tell you about that, I have over 150 blogs subscribed to in my Feedly account and some of my favorites are:
      1. Harvard Business Review Blog
      2. Devdutt Patnaik's Blog
      3. Heartranjan's Blog
      4. These Pretzels are Making Me Thirsty
      5. Wait But Why; and a lot more.

    2. Why oh why do people still state "Hobbies" on a resume? Next best stuff is residence address, date of birth, and to trump it all, an affidavit style statement saying 'the above knowledge is true and correct'.

      This is what it should look like. I remember reading through and creating my resume modelling the above several years ago. Not sure what good it actually did.
      Loved your writing though Sarthak, as always a masterpiece.

    3. "I hereby state that the above information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge."


  2. Thank s for this comprehensive reply.
    Would like to know more about your reading tastes.
    Please care to share.

    1. Um, I like reading about things like palmistry, astrology, gemology because I think they're fun. My favorite subjects to read would be psychology and philosophy. I love reading short stories and articles online mostly because it makes things convenient to read on the go.

      I have a lot of biographies at home. Lots of them. But, my dad reads them. To help you understand my taste better, I can tell you that I really enjoyed reading Freakonomics and The Tipping Point. So, it's non-fiction mixed with psychology to some extent.

  3. I've been waiting for you to something for AGES, and finally when you post something, it's about reading! It so happens that I, too, was about to write something on reading, although in a different context. As for your post, it was absolutlly hilarious, and well worth 2 kilos of jalebis. You had me nodding at every single point that you made above.
    Paulo Coehlo: I picked up The Alchemist a while ago, at the suggestion of a friend, but I couldn't bring myself to go any further than 50 pages, lest I should die of boredom.
    The Secret: I've read it, and I found the idea quite interesting, but I never suggest that book to anyone, like so many had suggested it to me.
    Chetan Bhagat. I have only ever read one of his books: Two States. It was interesting, but I never felt compelled to read other books by this guy, the way one might feel compelled to read all Dan Brown books after reading just one.
    One evening I read The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (which is the book's full name), but only because it came FREE FREE FREE with that month's issue of the Reader's Digest. As for 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I've never even heard of it.
    Now, The Da Vinci Code is something I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed. The first of Dan Brown's books that I read was Digital Fortress, and after that I couldn't resist reading all his other books.
    The Newspaper. Haha, I don't read the newspaper, unless you count HT City, or Delhi Times! XD

    1. Dude! Bubbly-Teadle-Doo! You leave such nice comments that I wait for you to comment on my posts. I'm so glad you liked it.

      I don't have a problem with any of the books mentioned above. The only concern is that people should read stuff other than these two. Everyone seems to mention the same books. I think I'll be impressed if someone cares to talk about titles I haven't heard of and subjects that sound interesting.

      Eagerly waiting for your post on "reading" :)

    2. I'm glad you're glad, haha. XD
      Yeah, it bugs me too, that a lot of people who call themselves readers have only ever read some of the books you've mentioned here.
      As for my post on "reading", I was just planning to write something about how books are the best thing that ever happened to me and how I hate it when people disturb me while I read. Nothing really interesting, tbh.
      Also, I emailed you the link to my fb profile, because I don't check my email often enough. :)

  4. Oh my god!!! So true... I cant bear hearing any of these names! I.mean seriously.. Nd true reading is the most common stuff written in resume.. But it is really easy to.make out who is the real 'reader'.
    i guess i am forgeting the jalebis.. For you @@@@@@@ with rabri on top (well thats what i wanna eat ) :D

    1. Funny how I'm commenting on this while actually having a Jalebi. There's this guy in Old Rajinder Nagar who sells jalebis by the piece. Rs. 8 per piece. It's big and round and crispayy :D

  5. Do you think online reading is more interesting than reading tomes?
    Reading as a hobby phased out long ago.!

    1. I say that because I find it convenient as everything lies in my smartphone.

  6. your blog a lot..!!but do post more often..!!

  7. Your blog reinforces my views. I live in a small town in Punjab so I invariably buy books whenever I am in the capital, Chandigarh.In one trip, I bought a couple of Paulo Coelho and Chetan Bhagats and I felt that I had wasted money totally in that trip. Bill Bryson's At Home was the only saving grace of that trip. A friend on Facebook keeps sharing Coelho quotes and I am so surprised to see people going gaga over them.

    1. I'll be honest, I'm actually quite fond of Paulo Coelho. I love the way how his stories have layers to peel off and understand. I'm just tired of people only talking about the author in context of The Alchemist. A person who likes a particular author should take out time to discover his other works too.

      However, I do see that you teach communication skills in Punjab. I'm sure I'll get a lot to learn from your feedback :)

  8. Waav *_* This was fantastic! I love how you think of small quirky ideas and then create them into big posts! I've read The Alchemist, because, dad. I read Chetan Bhagat because I'm way too filmy and my school forcefully made us read The Secret because, stupidity. But I'll defiantly not state this in my interview. I won't even say reading is my hobby, I'd probably say something where it's tough to ask a question about. For example, Extreme Sports. The interviewee might max to max ask me which is the most adventurous extreme sports I've done and then I'd say bungee jumping. After that he really can't ask me a good question except for the height from which I decided to do such crazy stuff. Better than reading, no? xP Also, EVERYONE reads! More than half the people who go there would say they like reading!

    Oh! And your jalebis! @@@@@ My dad got me sweets last week, you can have some kaju katli too for such amazingly awesome writing skills! :D

    1. Thanks, Duvvuri! Also, khaa le, bete. Abhi toh tera metaboolism sayi hai.

  9. โปรโมชั่นใหม่ “แจกโบนัส สูงสุดทันที 1,000 บาท”
    gclub online โปรโมชั่น แบบครบวงจรที่คอยอัพเดทข่าวสารเกี่ยวกับโปรโมชั่น จีคลับ บาคาร่าออนไลน์ สล็อตออนไลน์ ตลอดทั้ง 24 ชั่วโมง เพื่อให้ท่านได้สามารถเข้าร่วมสนุกไปกับเกมออนไลน์ของเราได้ตลอดเวลาโปรโมชั่นสำหรับสมาชิก Premium, VIP ที่แจกโบนัสให้สูงที่สุด 10% และโปรโมชั่นแบบรายวัน สำหรับคำขอบคุณที่มอบให้กับ โปรโมชั่น gclub

  10. We have brought you a new site. This is an alternative to backpack.
    You will benefit a lot.
    AdBackpage Team


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D