08 November, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Celeritas Files by Ishan Majumdar

*** Special Feature - November 2017 ***

About the Book
Experience the story of Shaina Desai, who finds herself in the middle of a sinister plot to steal her prized invention, which happens to be the principal subject of valuation for a multi-million dollar cross-border investment in what could be termed as one of the most brutal attempts at intellectual property theft in the history of corporate India.
Will she be forced to give up her dream to save her son’s life? Or will she lose him to the ruthless kidnappers?
A tale of professional pride and the heart-breaking choices forced upon the individual, of love and betrayal, and the dark games ruthlessly played in the corporate world, under the veneer of professional ethics…

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Read an Excerpt:

The candidate was a reasonably good-looking man who seemed to be in his early thirties. As he stood up to shake hands with Shaina and Sivakumar, she noticed that he was slim and slightly shorter than Sivakumar who was six feet in height. His skin tone was extremely fair for an Indian and his facial features looked to be quite Arabic. Shaina quickly glanced at his résumé to recall his name as she seated herself opposite him. She read the words ‘Amaan Sayyed’ written in bold and underlined as the title of a nicely formatted résumé.

“First, I would like to introduce ourselves,” began Sivakumar after seating himself, “I am Harrish Sivakumar, the Founder and the Managing Director of Bliksem India and this is Shaina Desai, the Head of Research and Development.”

Amaan nodded at her with a half-smile.

“I believe you had a detailed telephonic discussion with our Chief Business Officer, Mr. Rishabh yesterday,” Sivakumar continued, “Also, I think that he has already carried out your assessment with respect to all the technical aspects required for the job and with respect to your prior experiences in the field of finance with companies like Wulfram Electronics. The objective of our meeting today is to assess your fit within our organization.”

He paused for a moment and looked down at the résumé

“First, let us start with your sabbatical. Could you explain to us why exactly you have taken one full year off from working?” he asked.

Amaan took a deep breath.

“Well, this was one of the first questions that Mr. Rishabh asked me,” he replied plainly. “I will be very honest in my answer. I lost my wife in November last year. She succumbed to lung cancer. Post her demise, I wished to take a break from everything. I spent the year re-visiting the places we had visited together and spent the entire period of time in nostalgia, trying to relive all the wonderful moments I spent with her inside my head.”

Both Sivakumar and Shaina were taken aback a bit, by the response. It sounded like an extremely honest answer but not the kind that they would have expected in an interview.

“We are indeed very sorry for your loss, Amaan,” said Sivakumar, “Since you are being so honest in your responses, I want to ask you one question very bluntly in the same context. And I want you to answer that honestly.”

He turned to Shaina and then turned back to Amaan and continued.

“Why do you want to work for us? You have worked for a giant like Wulfram at a senior role in finance. We are much smaller than them, both in terms of size as well as pay packages and you are well aware of this fact. Considering your qualifications and your experience, you could land a better role despite the one-year sabbatical gap.”

“I couldn’t agree more with you Mr. Sivakumar,” Amaan replied coolly, “But my reason to prefer the role here over going back to becoming a wannabe-finance-hotshot in some multinational giant is also personal.”

He paused for a moment, trying to frame his response in his head.

“First of all, I seek a reduction in my work pressure with more of a work-life balance and have more time for myself after work,” he continued with a straight face, “From what I discussed with Mr. Rishabh, the role has relatively limited responsibilities as compared to what I was always used to handling which perfectly fits my need. Secondly, electronics as a sector is my comfort zone as I have worked in the sector before and I am well aware of the budgeting and compliance processes. I do not wish to move out of this comfort zone. And lastly, with respect to the lower salary part, I am not monetarily ambitious. My family wealth coupled with my savings from my earlier employment are sufficient for my expenses. Overall, you can say that my quest for comfort and lack of monetary ambition are my biggest motivations for this job.”

Both Sivakumar and Shaina raised their eyebrows. They were shocked to hear such bluntness during an interview and even more with the straight face with which Amaan gave the answer. The man was blunt but his facial expressions and his body language conveyed nothing; it was impossible for them to read him.

“That is a dangerous answer,” said Shaina, finally breaking the awkward silence in the room after Amaan’s answer, “Companies seek ambitious, hard-working and dynamic individuals in their workforce. You seem to be confidently unambitious and comfort seeking. Aren’t you worried that this answer would lose you this opportunity?”

“Probably,” Amaan shrugged, “Yet, I prefer being absolutely blunt about my approach in the interview itself, or else I feel I would lose the job in the long term anyway owing to my employers’ displeasure towards my attitude. I believe it is better, to be honest from the very outset with respect to my attitude towards the company and the job.”

Sivakumar chuckled.

“What is intriguing me now is what answer you gave, for this question in your other interviews,” he 

“You are the first and the only company I have interviewed within this period,” Amaan replied truthfully, “The last interview I appeared for was two and a half years ago and at that time, my expectations from life were very different than what they are now.”

“Why do you say that?” asked Sivakumar curiously, “What do you think has changed?”

“I am sorry Mr. Sivakumar but answering that question would involve disclosing more of my personal life than what I would be comfortable with.”

The words came from Amaan’s mouth like arrows shot from a bow.

“The only thing I can say is that the difference lies between the ambitions of an individual who has a family with a growing need for comforts; as compared to the ambitions of a loner,” he said after a short pause.

Sivakumar smiled.

“Fair enough, Amaan. We understand and respect your privacy,” he said.

About the Author
Ishan is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Management from HEC Paris (Grande Ecole). Born and brought up in the suburbs of Mumbai, Ishan went on to complete his graduation from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics and moved to Europe for further studies. He has a rich corporate exposure, having worked in investment banking and strategy roles in multinational companies such as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Danone.
Ishan is fluent in six languages including French and Spanish, as a large part of his working life was spent in France and Spain. He currently works with a venture capital fund based in New Delhi, India.

1 Paperback Copy of The Celeritas Files for an Indian Resident
3 eBooks of The Celeritas Files for International Winners

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