Ruben was not there. I had asked him to come over for the day. But he couldn't make it as he was not well. He was happy about my Amazon job when I called him and asked me; if I remember the days when we carried a bundle of resumes every time with us, and dropped copies everywhere in Luton, Milton Keynes, Dunstable and High town. Job hunting kept us busy always. Finally Ruben got a call from ‘Sports Direct.com’ at Coventry. We spent some busy days and moments of uncertainty together.
He said missing those days. And that made me feel sad and I said “those days will be forever missed and never forgotten; and hope you would get better soon.”
Ruben and I did ‘job hunting’ together. Job hunting was not an academic time pass; it was part of university life; like assignments and seminars.
One afternoon Ruben took me to Milton Keynes. He said he had an appointment there. And a part time job was knocking around. He was not sure about the number of vacancies but knew that they were recruiting people, so thought of taking me along, to make it together.
It was high time that we hardly took any rest after the classes, spending everyday out searching for a part time job. And we both were desperate that we received no calls.
We met with Fred, the floor manager in ‘Honey Top’. He asked us to leave a copy of our CV, Passport and NI number with the lady receptionist. He took us to a hall where we were asked to wear a long white coat, hygiene caps and safety boots.
It was a huge factory! And freezing inside! There I saw a lot of people in different lines doing the same job all the time. Making the sandwich! The belts in each line were carrying neatly placed bread. They were filling different varieties of vegetables, sauces and mayonnaise on top of them.
The belts moved so fast that they couldn't make it sometimes. They even missed one or two slices! They made mistakes by filling wrong sauce or wrong piece of vegetable.
I saw a man there, walking slowly all over the place, looking around and checking dispatch lot and shouting often. He was not wearing white like others. The people he was handling and shouting at often didn't understand what they were doing. They made mistakes, struggled to keep up. But for him, in there, it was simple and easy. He walked freely; relaxed whenever he wanted. He gave instructions and earned respect. And many among them would certainly hope that, one day they could be that man. He acted like a real hero supervising many people.
When we came out in the same hall, taking his caps off, Ruben said he liked the place. And he was interested in night shifts. Milton Keynes was just one hour drive from our university. And if we take a weekly pass its almost affordable in ‘Arriva’ (Bus service). Ruben was already ahead calculating even the expenses and savings. I was not sure about getting a chance as I was not asked to pop up by Fred; neither did I have an appointment.
Fred was verifying passport and NI (National Insurance) number in his office. Ruben was called in. It took almost ten minutes to finish the interview. Interview means explaining whatever we saw earlier inside; hygiene, safety and some other basic instructions. When they ask; “Any Questions” interview is over.
How was it? I asked him when he came out.
Forget it; Ruben said.
When I asked ‘why’; he said, “They have only one vacancy at the moment”
I asked him “Is that a reason to forget it?”
Ruben was quick to reply and he said; the guy who gave him the reference told him that it was not that difficult to make it for both of us; because they need shop floor laborers all the time. And that was the reason why Ruben took me with him to Milton Keynes. And he felt bad that Fred wasn't ready to take two.
Fred came out and told me not to worry as he had my CV with him and said he would definitely make a call whenever a vacancy comes up. That wasn't unfair from his side.
Ruben was asked to show up on coming Thursday.
Any way Ruben did forget it; he decided not to take that offer; though he shouldn't have done that. But I couldn't forget it. This is how I would remember Ruben always.
Ruben was my batch mate; we studied different subjects but attended classes in the same floor. We became friends on a Halloween day at the students center. I hope wherever he is; he is doing good and making good friends.
And now when I got a call from Amazon, they decided to celebrate it, for Amazon job didn't require me to shift from Luton. Amazon wasn't far and they were happy for me.
‘Shervone Koraale’ was at its best of times. Everyone was singing it and everything was fine except, Ruben couldn't attend the great ‘Amazon party’.