So I had been called for the interview and had to fly to Islamabad in a hurry. When exams had finished on May 31st, little did I know that a totally different kind of tension (and more intense too) will have to be faced by me. Somehow, with Allah's Help, we got a ticket booked... Chotpo Zindabad :D. And she (in a real hurry) said 'yes, yes yes' to all the questions the travel agent asked. The ultimate result was, that we got booked into one of the posh(er) hotels of Isb :$, and may Allah Forgive us for that one-night stay of extravagance
[but I tell you, the hotel rocked! If I weren't so tense, I would have enjoyed it :P]
Lemme start the story from the day when I had to catch that flight. The morning was so tumultuous, that I experienced (for the first time) what it means to 'break out into a cold sweat' :P. I was desperately trying to work my printer, but it just wouldn't print out the essential documents I had painstakingly collected in one place. It just wouldn't budge. It was 10 am at that time, and Dad was as anxious as me. NOT to mention, I still had to go collect my laminated documents and this er, piece of clothing from the Aunty (whose tailor we had given the clothes too - and had to wear this thing at that day). :S. I can't believe I went through that time now.. :)
Failing to win over the stubborn printer, I finally gave it up and went out with my documents in the USB, searching for a place where I could get a print-out. At that point, nearly all shops were closed. Except one. :D
I walked in, and that shop did indeed offer printing services. Thanking Allah fervently, I got the prints, then left to collect my laminated documents. That done too, the tailor's stuff wasn't ready (no surprises), I rushed back since I had to cook rice. Lol. That was done hurriedly, and then sat down to check my email. Ho ho ho. I had received the 'confirmation email about the interview call' and that email also kindly informed me that I had to 'bring proof of registration of TOEFL to the interview' - I had less than an hour to leave the house. And I had to register ....!!!? Since I don't have a debit card, I feverishly rang up Chotpo (oh - what would I do without her).. took from her her debit card details, and then began the registration process which was kaaafi slow !
Sigh. Somehow, that also got done, and we left the house. Picked up Chotpo from university. Came to airport, checked in :D.. blogged :P... and then boarded the flight. The plane took off and about a minute after take-off, there was a semi-violent lurch.
Well, the plane steadied itself over the next few minutes. We flew out from the cloud cover Alhamdulillah and breathed a bit more easy :D.
When we landed, the hotel van was there to pick us up. Glancing at each other in suppressed glee, me and Chotpo made their way to the luxurious van. Sat down, and off it zoomed (at the speed of 100km/h!) down these amazing Islamabad roads. I dunno where the heck we were in Isb, but the drive was amazingly out of this world !! :). Time and again, I found myself wishing that Karachi also had this kind of greenery and the amazing 'magical' quality about the city. Islamabad really does affect me like this.. even though, being a Karachite, I find it a lot more quiet and peaceful. But if you're only going for 24 hours, then peace and quiet is totally welcome :).
Khair, we landed at the hotel and the room was pretty cool. The view even more awesome :D.
It was beautiful MA. The night before the interview was terrible. Even though the beds were the softest I have ever slept in my life, but ... :(. I could only sleep for 2 hours! And all the time I was busy running weird/random questions through my brain and answering them again and again .. :S. SOMEHOW the night passed. I had hoped to get some sleep after Fajr, but even that proved to be impossible. Anyway, we were driven to the interview centre via taxi and I could just stare at the view. Oh man. I have never (like, seldom) driven on a straight clean non-bumpy road with Margalla Hills (very very green hills) looming in front of me ... and well, I can't stop saying that I find Isb so very beautiful :). MA.
The interview centre didn't allow guests inside, so my phuppi had to sit outside on the bench :(. I can never repay this much kindness you know. For nearly 5 hours, she sat outside, waiting for me. Because the interview process takes a long time. I went inside (on shaky knees) and met all the other 'contestants' - we were 7 people :). The guidelines page was given to us and it said that there had been 41 applicants and 7 had been shortlisted. I was amazed. This must mean that I was at least as good as the rest of them. Then I started talking to them all ...
1. One was a teacher at a cool university in Isb - had 4 years of teaching experience and 8 international publications. He was originally from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Amazing. MA.
2. One was a senior Uncle type person who had done his MPhil and had brought his dissertation. Was employed somewhere with loads of experience too.
3. One girl had been my batch mate in the university in which I had stayed for only 3 months and then I had left. She had gone on to do her Bachelors, then MS and now is a Lecturer in another cool univ in Isb - with publications and lot of research experience.
4. One girl was originally from er, Chiniot (if I'm not wrong. I need to know Pakistan more :(...). And she was amazingly self-confident, employed in a cool univ in Lahore and a research associate or something.
5. One guy had his Major in Chem and was employed in another cool univ of islamabad.
6. One guy was also employed somewhere and had lots of publications. Didn't get to know him much.
I couldn't help wondering...