Fellow upper-berther on the train to Jaipur is an Environment Impact Assessment report writer. Obviously, he cannot decipher my enthusiasm about his job and has probably decided that I am another confused student excited by the prospect of ANY career. My idealism amuses him and his nonchalance confuses me.
Finally, after several awkward minutes of attempted conversation (from my side) about sustainability, pollution control and the MoEF, he seems to realise that he needs to spell it out for me.
“You know the industry hires me, yes?”
“Well, yes. So? Are you trying to say you HAVE to give them clearance?”
“Of course. They pay me for it. It isn’t a bribe, it’s my job and these companies hire the agency I work for to give them clearance. Giving clearances is my job.”
“I’m sure it isn’t that simple. Is it that simple?”
“There’s no possibility of-“
“But what if-“
He continues to look suspiciously at me, but I am too heartbroken to carry on polite conversation.