|| The Meeting ||

She was exhausted by the heat and by changing multiple buses. Not a very good thing when one is appearing for a job interview, she thought as she looked around herself. The receptionist sat behind a high wooden desk, only her extremely fair face with brightly painted lips visible. The phone kept ringing non-stop. Behind the glass door that separated the reception area from the work area, she could see the regular hustle-bustle of a busy Monday morning.

There was another person waiting besides her. He was busy reading the newspaper as she sat back and scrutinized him. Around her age, this boy was dressed causally in blue jeans and an orange check shirt. And sneakers. Lines formed on her forehead as she wondered if he was here for an interview as well. But who dresses so casually for an interview? She was soon distracted by the absence of the interviewer. She had tried to be smart and had clubbed two interviews that morning. Well, it was the sensible thing to do since they were both in the same area, which was in general very far from where she lived.

As she sat there hoping for an interviewer to emerge from behind the glass door, the orange-shirted boy ruffled the newspaper, the receptionist talked on the phone, and the clock ticked. When someone did walk out from behind the glass door, the big needle of the clock had completed half of its hourly journey.

She then found herself being ushered into a meeting room with an oval table and chairs all around it. A fat wad of sheets was thrust under her nose and she was told that she had two hours to finish the test. She took a deep breath and began reading the test paper. In two minutes time, the door opened again and the orange-shirted boy walked in with a fat wad of papers in his hand. She looked up and smiled. He smiled back.

An hour had passed as she sat engrossed in writing the paper when the door opened again and another girl walked in with another fat wad of papers in her hands. She looked at the two occupants of the room but did not let her expression change at all. She took a seat as far as possible from the other two people.

There were still twenty minutes to go before her allotted two hours came to an end. Her paper was done. Almost. There was this one silly question carrying one mark that she could not figure out. Could she leave it? Leave a question unanswered when she had time! How could she? But she must hurry or else she would be late for her next interview. She looked around the room. The new girl was writing her paper and her expression was still the same as it had been when she had entered the room. She then looked at the boy. He sat across from her. In comparison to the girl, he looked much favorable. She cleared her throat and said, “Excuse me,” he looked up.

“What is the distance formula?” she knew that this was an extremely simple, and hence stupid, question and was slightly pink as she looked at him hopefully.

He looked at her for a very short moment and then said, “Oh, are you talking about question 32? But see, you do not need the distance formula. It is a trick question and the answer is there in the question itself. The correct answer is the time specified in the question. Option C.” He smiled. She gave him her fake smile in return and he got back to his paper.

What the…! Speed x Time or Speed / Time was all she had wanted to know! She had asked him a question and he had told her everything except what she had asked. Slightly embarrassed by her own impulsive query and angry at his helpful response, she ticked option C and left the room.

Back in the reception area, she handed her paper to the receptionist and thought that she should forget about this vaguely humiliating and hugely anger-provoking experience. She tried to calm herself down for the next round. After all, what were the chances that she would see that orange-shirted stranger again?

Can you guess the chances?

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