It was my last year in college. I was very happy. I was not happy because I was passing out. I was happy because I had been offered the job of an anchor for a news channel. It was a glamourous job.
I passed the general knowledge test conducted by the channel. I was called for the screen test. Layers of makeup were poured over my face. After a wait of half an hour I was summoned in the studio room. The cameraman asked me to speak something. I spoke a few words and he adjusted his equipments. He told me that he had locked me into a frame. He asked not to move and remain within the frame. I read the news on the scroll.
After eagerly waiting for two weeks, I received a call stating that I had cleared the screen test. I was summoned for the final interview. The channel had also offered me return air ticket for the final interview. My joy knew no bounds. I was so close to my dreams. My friends were more than happy that they were going to see me on television.
I flew to Hyderabad. I went to the sprawling office of the channel. The panel comprised of three men. I entered the interview room after seeking the permission of the panel. The moment I ensconced on the seat, the panel asked me if I had a degree in journalism. I said no. The advertisement did not say that a degree of journalism was a must to apply for the job. I did not say the same to the panel. They asked me if I had given a screen test. I replied in the affirmative. That meant the interviewers had not even seen the screen test. Time and again they asked me if I had a degree in journalism. If I recollect correctly they asked the same question thrice every time differently worded. They asked me if I was ready to sign an agreement whereby I would bind myself to work exclusively for the channel for three years. I politely said no. Then came the most important part of negotiation. The pay check. They asked me what was my expectation with regard to the salary. I quoted the figure which I had in my mind. They offered me peanuts in turn.
I returned home. I was in a fix. I did not know what to do if I was selected for the job. The job was glamourous. But I was offered peanuts as a salary. Moreover I was required to stay in Hyderabad. That meant there was no scope for career growth. Had it been Mumbai, my career would have grown by leaps and bounds. I remember I had sleepless nights that week.
However, the call that was expected never came. What came was the time-table for my final year examinations. I was so busy with channel interview that I had little time to study. The examination was just a fortnight away. I was afraid that I would fail. The fear of failing in the examination was eating me every moment. I was an intelligent student. My failure would be a biggest blot on my career. Avoiding the fear was the only solution. So I decided that I will not appear for examinations that year. I decided to drop out from the exams.
However my decision did not go well with my mother. She asked me to appear for the examination and write whatever I knew. She compelled me to do so. I wrote the exams reluctantly. The anticipated results gripped me with fear again. The results were declared. I had passed with flying colours. I had learnt an important lesson of my life. You can conquer fear only by facing it point blank and not by running away from it.