Of all the candidates they evaluated, he seemed to be the one with the most required skills to execute a plan of such major scale. And, he is one of those rare people with a clean track record. People, who have known Anand, talk only good things about him. He has more friends and few foes.

Geeta called up Anand on his mobile phone.

She said, “Hi, I’m calling from the company Traders International. We came across your profile on one of the career networking websites on the Internet and found it suitable for our requirement. Can you please forward your latest updated profile if you are interested?”

Anand replied, “Thanks for the information. This opportunity seems to be interesting. Can you let me know more about the company and the job?”

Geeta told him that it is an international corporation with offices established across the globe. They are not famous worldwide as they do not spend much in marketing and advertising. They are looking for some people with event management experience to carry out some of their events that are being planned in the coming months and years. She told him that they have an aggressive schedule ahead and they want to focus on Bangalore from this year. Earlier, one of their representatives from Mumbai used to handle the events in Bangalore. But, as there are a number of events that are tentatively planned to happen simultaneously, they need a local representative who can handle the events without any hassle.

Anand felt glad that he finally found a job that suits his skills. But, he wondered by would a trading company have so many events. And, most of the events that Geeta explained on the phone had to do with celebrities such as film stars, sportsman, and television personalities. Though he did not understand the link, he decided to go forward with this opportunity because of the lucrative pay package he was being offered.

As planned, Anand attended the interview in a hotel.  He was given the challenge of a sudden event. He was asked to share his plan of implementation of a sudden event. The interviewers were impressed with his impromptu plan and his immediate response. However, Anand noticed that they were not bothered about his answer. It appeared to him as though they decided to hire him even before he attended this interview.

The interview session went on well, until he heard something strange. He was told that he has to be secretive about his job. He should not disclose the names of his bosses or the company to anyone else, including his family members. Though Anand was not comfortable with this concept, he decided to agree for now and think about it later.

After spending nearly two and a half hours with the interviewers, he left for the day. The interviewers congratulated him and informed him that he could join within a month after completing all the formalities.

Anand came out of the hotel room where he was interviewed. While going downstairs in the elevator, he tried to search online about the company. There was no website. The company had no social media presence. It did not make any sense to him. As part of his investigation, he tried to find about Geeta Arvind on the Internet. There was no one with that name and her face on the Internet. And, he could not find any information about the other interviewer either. He was worried if he was being conned into a job. But, they did not ask him to pay any money unlike the regular con job offers.

Anand sat in the lounge restaurant of the hotel and took out his laptop. He ran the wifi network hacker software his friend developed for him. Anand hacked the wifi network of the hotel. To his dismay, he came to know that the people residing in the interview room did not subscribe for the hotel wifi and did not log in to it. So, he could not get any further information about them.

He tried tracking Geeta’s phone number and learning more about the owner of this phone. But, this did not help either. There was no information there about anyone. In fact, it appeared that the phone belonged to some businessman from Mumbai.

As he could not get any further information about the team and this company, he decided to take his investigation to the next stage. He left the hotel to meet his friend, Karthik.

He reached Karthik’s house and explained him the situation. Karthik listened silently.

Karthik asked him, “Let us play a game. Recollect your experience during the interview and answer these questions. Remember to recollect every single detail. The truth is always in the details. Now, let us classify our information into three categories – things that were normal during the interview, things that were bizarre, and things that were way too normal beyond reasoning. Take a peace of paper and write down as much as you can under these categories.”

Anand took some time and filled the paper.

Normal Observations

The interview process was normal. The interviewers had good knowledge of the subject at hand – event management. They were confident. They had all the information about me, the candidate, in advance. 

The hotel room was normal. It was well-lit, clean, and silent. I could only smell the room fragrance supplied by the hotel people. There was a desk and there were some magazines.

Bizarre Observations

They did not want me to share the details of the company or the interview with anyone. They do not have a website for their company. 

For conducting the interview, they did not have laptops with them. They had some printed sheets. They were noting down their observations on plain sheets of paper. 

Overtly Normal Observations

The room was very clean as though it was cleaned a few minutes ago. None of the appliances have been used – the television, the refrigerator, or the microwave oven within the room.

The first interviewer, Geeta Arvind, was overtly cordial. The other interviewer appeared as though he had some questions he needed to ask. He followed his checklist and did seem to miss any of the questions he planned to ask. This did not seem fine considering the number of times I tried to divert attention with other topics about my other skills.

Karthik went through the list prepared by Anand. He grinned and said, “I’m glad you doubted them. It is either a con agency hiring you as one of their con managers or it has something do with mafia.”

Anand always trusted Karthik and his deduction skills. He asked him, “How can you be so confident?’

Karthik explained, “Let us start with you. Anand is a successful professional with good event management skills. Anand has a clean record and reputation. Anand does not have too many friends and is not part of any influential group. Anand has a very simple life style. He spends most of his time at work or at home. Most people who know Anand like him. He is a great resource to arrange for events. And, on top of it, Anand is known to be one of the most trustworthy people in his college and his company. This is what they were looking for. They did their research about people suited to execute their shady business. You fit the bill perfectly. They were confident that you did not have much influence. I’m glad you never told anyone about your other hobbies such as ethical hacking. That helped us here. The other important thing about Anand is that he would not say to people most of the time. He is very resourceful and helpful.”

Anand was taken aback.

Karthik continued, “The interview as just for the sake of it. They wanted to meet you, hire you, and get you started for their activities.”

Karthik immediately pulled out his laptop and opened up the hacking software he developed. Using it, he hacked the network of the hotel. He found out that the room was booked in the name of a businessman from Mumbai. And, as Karthik guessed it right, the occupants vacated the room a couple of hours after the interview is over.

Karthik immediately checked with other hotels and their databases. He was not too surprised to find that a different suspicious businessman from Mumbai and his wife logged into another hotel in another corner of the city.

Karthik immediately called his uncle who is a cop and told him about these strange people.

After a couple of hours, Karthik got a call from his uncle.

Karthik turned to Anand and said, “I’m glad you got your doubts. The cops have arrested one of them. They are from the mafia. They were hiring you to take care of some of their activities without garnering much attention.”

Anand was horrified at this discovery. He thanked God for saving him from the clutches of a dangerous organization.