Nayyara Rahman was born in Karachi, in 1984. She is a freelance contributor to local magazines and online forums. Her efforts in creative writing have been rewarded with several prizes at the academic stage, including first prize in a national essay competition held by NAB, Pakistan. Her short story “Clay Fissures” was one of five winning entries of a national competition organized by The British Council Pakistan, who subsequently published it, in a book called “I Belong”. Her work was also included in an anthology, “And The World Changed”, edited by Muneeza Shamsie and published by Women Unlimited India. The book has subsequently also been published by The Feminist Press in New York.
Her most recent work is a short story in Rakhshanda Jalil’s “Neither Night Nor Day” published by Harper Collins, India. Understanding the social role of the free word, Nayyara Rahman was also one of the writers who participated in PEN’s “June” project in 2008; an effort to free the imprisoned Chinese writer, Shi Tao.
The Job Application
after it appeared for the third time, I started losing sleep on it.
In this blasted age of technology, it isn’t everyday that a “TYPIST WANTED” advertisement turns up. I’d ignored it two times already. But if I didn’t apply now, I was sure I’d lose a new job without even holding on to the old one.
Though there isn’t an entry, I am quite sure that I must have created some world record that day: Never has a resume been typed with such ferocity; never has a courier delivery man heard such pleading requests for mercy. And never has a job application reached its destination with such speed.
An evening later, when I was cooking, my son ran in panting.
“There’s a phone call!”
“Who is it?”
“An old aunty.”
That didn’t really help. My son Haroon was five. Every woman seemed old to him. But the fact that he was excited, and that it was from an “aunty” should have meant something.
I wiped my hands on my kurta and walked to the dining room.
“Is this Farzana Ansari?”
It was a windy, expectant voice, with far too much room between each syllable. Distinctly upper class, the kind you would expect a socialite to have.
“I am Shermain Khan, manager at Z. L. and Co. You applied for a position here?”
I felt my heart bouncing. “Jee..I mean yes, yes madam, that’s right. I did apply.”
“For the position of a typist?”
“Are you sure you want this job? Because there are a lot more worthy candidates in line.”
“Yes, Madam, quite sure. I…is…is…my application alright?”
“You seem a little overqualified for the job, but that actually gives us all the more reason to want to meet you.”
An involuntary “Oh!” escaped my lips. “Can you come for an interview, on Thursday, at say around two thirty?”
In Karachi, that’s peak business time. But for this job, the shot was worth it. More bouncing. I had to sit down.
“Great. I’ll talk to you then.” The phone slammed.
I blinked hard, trying to make my eyes trap this beautiful moment forever.
The lady had said “Overqualified.” But she had also said, “All the more reason to meet” “interview” “Thursday”. It was real!
All those diplomas, all those expensive evening courses at those haughty