A Psychiatric Fallout !!

Under the new Budget in India, the price of aerated drinks (water with sugar content) has been hiked up by 5 percent, making soft drinks and sugary juices costlier.

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Health experts are hopeful that this financial step shall help reduce sugar consumption and thus check obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and dental decay – a theory many countries have begun to acknowledge but brands still profusely dispute !

Interestingly, last year I had a terrible dream : after the last gluttonous sip of a soft drink, I “saw” myself discovering active maggots at the bottom of the glass – and that was the end of all sugary relishes πŸ™‚ !!!

Next morning, as soon as I woke up, I threw the remaining bottles out of the refrigerator. We do not buy any soft drink or ice-creams unless a guest arrives and indicates a desire for it.

Now howsoever thirsty, we prefer plain water. And since then, if we really need to have a soft drink as an accompaniment, only fresh home-made sugarless nimbu paani zindabaadΒ (hail lemonade) ; thus goes our newly chosen flavour with spicy Biryanis and Pizzas as well πŸ™‚ !

For the same “visual pothers” of my dream πŸ™‚ , we have ditched other sugar-containing items and drastically reduced quantities of sweets or amount of sugar in every possible ‘prepared’ item, howsoever attractive – jalebis, chocolates, pastries, ice-creams, tea, corn flakes, milk shakes, cookies, smoothies, cakes, pan cakes, porridges, etc.

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Luckily, my husband volunteered to “share” the psychiatric fallout of my dream πŸ™‚ ! So that has now led us to limit our daily sugar consumption to even less than six teaspoons as recently set by the World Health Organization. Normally, I take only one teaspoon – in my morning cup of tea which I definitely require to stir up my day.

Well… my father (who is also a Doctor), tried for years to make me get rid of soft drinks; so he has been very thankful to God for blessing me with that thoroughly health-effective dream πŸ™‚ !!… Now his other routine insistences are about regular exercises (particularly Yoga), a 20-minute exposure to the morning rays of the Sun and having maximally green diets along with natural anti-oxidants. My husband has sincerely met almost all these expectations, whether of his father-in-law or his Family Physician πŸ™‚ , and of late, I am trying hard to partner him in it.

I suppose all health advices, increasing prices or taxes and making rules in these dietary matters aren’t going to help for long… So I wish that my folks who sincerely intend to get rid of aerated drinks and non-intrinsic forms of sugar, also “see” such a loathsome dream πŸ˜‰ !!! Perhaps, there is no other way by which someone like me can be more motivated firstly, to quit all those unhealthy molecules feeding potential cancerous cells and secondly, to maintain sustainability at it πŸ™‚ !

 

Hues of Life

A fellow aamjunta‘s brief but introspective account on a social-networking site of a swift and sweet weekend moment…

My hubby has taken Leave today to make it a big weekend.

Reason: to finish our long-pending personal work and gather some rest.

But he made it an usual morning by waking up at 6 A.M. and working on his office laptop for almost 3 hours.

As we were about to windup at breakfast (and I was contemplating to watch a movie, together), he very politely asked me to switch-on the TV: “TV ta tikiye lagei deba“…(note the word ‘tikiye‘ that implies an utterly humble, little demand).

Reason: well, again that little desire: “tikiye jhagdda dekhiba SC au BCCI ra (want to watch the ongoing arguments between SC and BCCI)” !!

Forget the movie ! My thoughts instantly drifted on to a completely different plane…

Its so much like a child pleading with his/her mother ‘maine home-work kar liya hai, thodda TV lagao na, Mumma (I have finished my home-work, now please switch-on the TV, Mumma) !’… Its rightly observed- irrespective of age, even men sometimes are still very much a teen at heart.

As for me, I think the left-over Vanilla ice-cream in my freezer shall be okay to keep me cool and happily brooding for now… πŸ™‚

I re-affirm that observation for all the sexes that could be defined. At the same time, it is vital that others concerned are sensible and responsive to such emotions and desires which a simple, carefree heart radiates. Simplicity, cheerfulness, contentment and care are combinable as an antidote to ageing spirits and emptiness within. This particularly, speaking of young couples and nuclear families dwelling in the hustle and bustle of city life. Otherwise, it shall lead to unnecessary conflicts within the very basic roots of a society.

Let us celebrate life in its vivid hues, in big or small way.

Aamjunta, what do you say?

 

Aamjunta Quotes

Here are some ” ” by Aamjunta. Hope you all enjoy them πŸ™‚

“Divergence is the convergence at some unknown point; may be at infinity or may be at some thing different from our imagination” – aamjunta

“Agreeing to Disagree is also Agreeing” – aamjunta

“Marriage and PhD have one similarity – Commitment, even with differences” – aamjunta

“There is always a cat and mouse game between the speed of the life and the speed-breakers; but at the end of the day, no one wins and no one loses, memories just remain as the by-product of the game” – aamjunta

“All my friends were strangers” – aamjunta

“Mistakes and Perfection are like life and death; once you reach the state of perfection, you are dead.” – aamjunta

“Let Complexity be used as a Parameter for System Design, not Human Design.” – aamjunta

“The difference between clock-wise and anti-clockwise motion is like the difference between the future and the past; but the similarity is that they cannot be altered” – ammjunta

“Hmm, Ego… Remember, it starts with a Big “E” and let’s us “Go” in the wrong direction” – aamjunta

“What is right and what is wrong? It is just a perception that changes across the table” – aamjunta

“Life is not digital, it is analogue only. But, one should avoid analogue (fuzzy) decisions in life”. – aamjunta

From 11 to 12

Have you been to the dining area of any Boys’/Gals’ hostel? Read this to refresh your memories, if you have been to those places; or to know some thing interesting, if you have not been to those places.

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It was a Thursday evening…

I was invited along with two of my friends to H11 for dinner. Reasons for the celebrations being to taste the mess food at a ladies hostel and to learn/realize the system of H11 mess. We reached at about 9.10pm β€” too late for dinner at H11 mess; missed many good dishes like the sweet and kofta. However, some food was still left and we decided to pounce on it. Food was Ok!!. But the taste was slightly different, not due to the ingredients, but due to the change in the style of cooking and the juicy, gossipy environment. We were keenly interested in the discussions and gossips other than the food. πŸ™‚

After taking in the initial euphoria of being in a girls hostel, we got so much absorbed into our own discussions that we did not realize there were some girls sitting very near to our table. Those girls were sitting not to complete their food, but to listen to our gossips so that they could further make use of these gossips in their own gossiping circle ; quite interesting though. But, the crux of our discussions were leaked. We thought of making use of the invitation as an opportunity to sustain some of our own curiosity and gossiping capability β€” but in the end we fell prey to the girls’ group trap . It was almost 10.00pm by time we were through with our dinner, left for our hostel after thanking our host.

That was one incident which gave me an opportunity to learn some thing from H11 mess. That was my first time in a ladies hostel mess and after that day I have been visiting their mess, though not very frequently, (once in a month or less than that). But these visits are mostly neither for fun, nor for learning rather for some reasons and some time compulsions, like some problem with H12 mess food, or for a quick lunch/dinner (H11 comes closer to my department than my own hostel H12) to get back to work at the department. Every time I go for either lunch or dinner, I get a different experience of the place β€” some times people don’t like to show their face and run away once they see certain guests even among their own acquaintances, some times they sit at a far end with a long face, some times they just sit and listen carefully what people are talking to their hosts, or some time some people sit and pass on comments; like hum bhi mami banenge….., tera mama ko bol… etc…. πŸ™‚ Staring at a guest the moment he/she enters the mess is a must; embarrassing though.

Other than these gossiping, staring and different expression scenes, what I don’t like there is the manner they serve food. Plates, chapatis and some thing or the other… not at all available in the dining area, only available in the inner kitchen where guests are not allowed. Moreover, one should not be very serious about hygienic conditions there. Most of the times, the plates and spoons are washed at the peak hours of lunch and dinner and the inmates have to get into the washing area to get their and their guests’ plates. Guests have to depend solely on the host for the guest coupon (most of the times my host runs out of cash at the mess counter though ) , food, water and even for a seat. Poor host… The guests have to stand near the food counter helplessly and watch their hosts run inside the kitchen to get plates, chapatis, curd, etc. …

But, with all these problems, cribs, faces, staring, etc., eating in H11 mess is quite different. The gossips are most of the time beauty centric or Boyfriend/boy friend centric and sometimes polished cat fights. Occasionally some released films or presyn/thesis submission too surface as interesting topics for time pass. The gossiping groups are fixed β€” almost like treasury benches in the parliament; hardly any one else can be part of the discussion and most of the times these are closely guarded groups. These are not only my experiences, many others who visit H11 occasionally or regularly will definitely agree with me.

Now coming to H12 mess…

I have been eating in H12 mess for the last five and half years. Let me tell my experiences. Believe me, it is unbiased!!. First of all, the mess food is hygienic, and the counters (both coupon counter for guests and the food counter) are quite ordered, structured and methodical. The guest does not have to depend on his/her host. Every thing is in place; starting from collecting plates to taking food at the counter to getting water at the dining table. Since the number of visitors are very high (including ladies) and the number of regular mess members are very high, one hardly stares at any one (if the visitor or the member looks some thing extraordinary or if there is some serious problem, then people might). For most of the members the seats and eating times are almost fixed. Yes, gossiping is there to its maximum extent; some time even we do for hours, but one hardly sits there to eavesdrop. No one bothers about others gossips. The topics of gossiping are mostly either lab related or political, and on cricket during cricket season; which are of course quite different from H11. There are some other topics, like credit cards, department and hostel politics, Girlfriend/Girl Friend and Boyfriend/Boy Friend issues, life, marriage, etc. Most of the times it is just leg pulling and some PJs. Any one can be absorbed and adapted into the gossips irrespective of the gender and age. Hardly any one will feel out of place at H12 mess. It is just like home.

The same argument one can give about H11 mess too… It is too a home for many (inmates only), but not for all. The difference is not at the level of facilities or resources, it is there in the attitude, the way of treating guests. If you are a guest at H11 mess, I’m sure you will be treated the best way that is possible by your host. It is quite a personal affair (some times lacking in H12 mess though). The experience one goes through at H11 mess and H12 mess are completely apart and just orthogonal. One can only experience not think. And one must experience this difference at least once in his/her IIT career.

Aamjunta what about your experiences?

Note: H11 is the women’s Post Graduate Hostel of IIT Bombay and H12 is the men’s Post Graduate Hostel. This article was originally published as an invited post on 1st January, 2009 in β€œIris”.

Disclaimer: The opinions of this article are completely subject to the experiences of the author. Aamjunta doesn’t hold responsibility for the opinions expressed

Making of an Aamjunta

When I take a cursory glance over the last six years that I spent at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (MAP), it not only surprises me but also leaves me spell-bound. Ruminating at the breadth of my experiences and at the grinding process, I suddenly feel to have grown-up and learnt far more in terms of my life at the institute. To document all those require a Herculean amount of work, memory and time. Yet, I am tempted to pen down some of these for all those who might be interested to know what IIT has offered me; to an aamjunta by choice.

It was around 6am, 18th July, 2002. I landed at Dadar with my bag and baggage. Fortunately, my brother and one of my friends were there to receive me. Did not have any problem to come to my brother’s place at Ghatkopar. The city was new to me and so was the Mumbaiya culture. I came to this city with a purpose, to complete some part of my dream. Certainly, did not think at that time to stay for more than 2 years at Mumbai. But, destiny had some thing else as its plan. Completed six years at Mumbai and more than 5 years in one room πŸ™‚ Don’t know exactly how many months (or years) more is destined for me.

On 22nd July, 2002 I joined IIT Bombay as an MTech student. Had a wonderful orientation programme with encouraging (rather warning) speeches and registration. Took some time to get into the system. Even though my IIT Madras experience was handy, it was bit tough initially to decide the courses and then struggling for the exams and quizes. I started my life in the institute from a small one room quarter T-1/128 (behind H-4) in the campus, shared with two other self sponsored MTech students as I was an industry sponsored candidate and was not entitled for a hostel in the first slot of allotment :(. That room was quite good, but the iron beds were really bumpy like the bumps and gutters of Mumbai during rainy season. Had tough time for food, especially during heavy showers, as we were allotted H-2 mess. Missing breakfast and snacks were very common. Fortunately, got accommodation in H-2 after a couple of months and life started the way I wanted. Had a very good and lively friend circle at H-2. Gossiping with them during lunch and dinner time was more interesting than the usual Rajma-Chawal.

I remember that when I first shifted to that hostel people used to inquire about my nativity, to which I replied humbly β€œI am from Orissa”. My fellow inmates would reply with perfect nonchalance and an all-knowing intelligence, β€œOh Orissa! Orissa Assam me hai na?” I gaped with utter disbelief. I had pledged myself there on to make sure I take a pride in my homeland wherever I go and made it a point to remain a typical Odiya boy in spite of my education and nature of work. “Khanepe aur sone pe (on food and sleep) – no compromise” used to be the basic philosophy of my existence in IIT Bombay, be it exam time, or quiz time.

In the academic front, I joined Infonet lab, Electrical Engg, my second home and my work place for all these years. I was introduced to the other members of my lab by my guide. Everybody in the lab were quite busy with their work and with their friends. Took some time to get into the lab culture and into the fun world. Had very good time with seniors (though I was elder than most of them) in the lab towards the end of 1st year. In the beginning, it was the PC lab not Infonet lab, which was my working place. Reason? Simple, all my batch mates used to work in the PC lab. Our batch was mixed with very senior people in their early 40s married with kids, and freshers in their early 20s, and me the middle one πŸ™‚ . We used to have parties, fun very often. It was quite lively with extremely brilliant guys at one end and with extremely un-professional guys at the other end. I used to solve (or try to solve) the assignments in time (in fact before time) and was quite sincere during those days. Getting calls for assignments was quite common; ctrl+c and ctrl+v was most of the times unavoidable (even sometimes names get copied also). Course work was a bit tough, not because it was made tough, rather becoming a student after a gap of 5 years was the reason why I found it tough. Open ended exams, 9.30pm quizzes, seminar without a guide etc., were mostly the memorable events of the 1st semester.

1st semester exam ended in late November 2002 and I booked my tickets for Bhubaneshwar via Chennai. It was 2nd December, 2002; I had my train for Chennai from Dadar at 8.30pm. Busy with last minute packing at Ghatkopar at my brother’s place. “Bhom”, “Bhom” — suddenly it sounded alarming at about 6.30pm. Could not understand any thing at that time. My brother came out from his room and saw people running outside in a panic. “What’s the matter?” He asked.. some one replied, “Bomb blast hua hai, bhago”. We could not believe… Two bombs blasted the Ghatkopar area, and one very near to the platform no. 1 on a BEST bus (some 200 mts from our rented room). Could not understand what was happening, how to react when things like that happened in real life, and most importantly how to go to Dadar? No taxi, no bus and local train for some time. Entire area was cordoned off. With all that, had some quick dinner and left for Dadar. Thought of taking a risk by going in local train. That clicked, got an almost empty local train and reached Dadar. Train journey was good. Reached office (company which sponsored my MTech) after a day. Felt some thing wrong there. The atmosphere was not good. Did not find the aura which RNB had left in July. Spent 2 weeks there and left for home town after that.

My mother came with me in my return journey. While coming back, I lost a bag in the auto rikshaw. I still remember the incident, and get teased by my family members. The 2nd semester was quite interesting and difficult. My company unit, where I was working got closed down and we got pink letters. Fortunately, I got saved by RNB and joined him as consultant for 2 months at Gandhinagar. Even got some financial help from my guide through some project. Had good time at Gandhinagar with friends and other people. Fought with many people on principle and aamjunta’s way of life started. The complex feelings between PhD and non-PhD at Gandhinagar added fuel to the fire within me; I determined to go for PhD at any cost. But, I declined politely their sponsorship offer as I had burnt fingers just before their offer.

I lost one of my very close relative in that semester, reason is still a mystery for us. Then began the MTP (MTech Project) tension. Reading standard documents, RFCs, proposals became part of life. At the personal front I had a few good reasons to cheer up, brother got married, my social service started in 3 schools and my involvement with various organizations increased.

In the summer vacation, we got the news (rumors too) about a new hostel: Hostel-12. There are accidents, and some extremely good ones. One can name it as a turn in the wheel of fortune or my amazing luck that I got a boarder seat in Room No. A-501 in the newly formed Hostel-12 located at the fag end of the campus. Most of my H-2 friends got rooms in the vicinity of my room in the same wing. Good time started, and I moved from a shared accommodation to single accommodation. The view from my window can inspire a Wordsworth or a Tagore to compose the masterpieces of their life. The Powai Lake and the lovely green landscape around it, can keep any one glued to my window for hours. During the monsoons, if you observe closely through my window, you can literally see the clouds darkening up into a beautiful blackness and sweep over the lake into huge rain storm. Life became a sweet-sour journey full of fun, frolic and work. Not just the structure of the building but the lifestyle itself in H-12 can put the best ones into envy. As a student, what more can one look for?

In the second year, I joined the institute bit late, after a week due to my other commitments. MTP started with full vigour. Used to have marathon meetings. Hope was very high, to do this, to do that. But, that did not happen. Work was constrained with so many other factors, did not get a focussed work and even could not test my code on the real hardware. MTP ended without even a glance of the real hardware on which my codes are based on (though got AAs). As the sysad of our lab, midnight calls (and even sobbing complaints 😦 ) were very common. Fighting for a flat screen monitor, or for a working place were day-to-day affairs. I too resigned from the sysad post, even though I knew the consequences. Some one has to protest against unethical and wrong attitudes, does not matter whether that will turn to be good to you or not.

Not just academics attracted me, participated in extra curricular activities too and even won some events. Was quite involved in welcome/farewell functions of Utkala. Had good time with many Odiyas here and was quite motivated by some of them. From the very beginning, going for PhD was in my mind. Even though I tried for one or two jobs, I applied for PhD at IIT Bombay. Even though I could not do well in the written test, I managed well in the interviews and solved most of the problems there. That was a turning point in my career. Got selected for PhD for the Jan session, but deferred for a semester. Instead of availing that offer, applied again for PhD in July. Faced two written tests and one interview during my last stage of MTP. Interview did not go well and I was quite depressed. Did not get the support from the people I expected, but finally got the offer (interstingly I topped in the list) and joined for PhD with TAship in July 2004.

Life did not end there. It was just the beginning, beginning of a commitment, and a career.

To be continued….

Life@Pre and Post APS

“I’m going to the temple for special puja, don’t worry, your APS will go well”, Minu/Ganesh’s mom informed her/him over phone on the morning of the APS day. Minu/Ganesh did well in the APS and is quite motivated now for her/his future research. It was just like a war of survival for her/him, has to win at any cost. That was a single isolated case out of some hundreds of PhD candidates/Research Scholars in every semester. Not all are that lucky or happy like Minu/Ganesh (interestingly some people around her/him are not that happy to see her/him in happiness 😦 ). Some are de-motivated, some are frustrated and some are happy after their APS. The peer-effect rules in some cases. Does not matter whether the APS was good or bad, it is certainly a party time for all of us. Time to celebrate after one year’s re-search and hard (!!??) work πŸ™‚

Lots of discussion/gossiping happens in the Mess/Canteen Table over tea/break-fast/dinner/lunch (some time) on various topics related to APS. “My RPC members stripped me off in front of all, my guide asked most of the questions, the panel was just another nightmare for me…” are a few of the statements one can hear during the post APS gossiping/discussions. Most of the discussions are on the next step of APS; like when to go for pre-syn, some discussions are meant to be critiques; “he/she should have answered to a particular query in this way or that” or some queries in general, etc. Activities of life suddenly changes after APS – from extra-busyness to idleness (not for all). “Arre, bahut kaam kaiya, thoda to rest le le…”, “I need a break”, are the usual time pass statements and official excuses πŸ™‚

For most of the people, the APS fever starts 2/3 months before the deadline. “What to present?”, “how to defend?” are the main concerns. Writing a report both in quantity (in terms of number of pages !!) and quality are very important. Some people are fascinated with the number of pages which creates panic buttons among their peers. In most of the cases reports are written at the last moment – at the eleventh hour. Few of them submit in time and most of them submit at the last moment (A few even submit just before the presentation). In many cases, reports are submitted as a matter of formality since it is required to be submitted; not complete in any respect neither by the student nor even glanced through by the guide(s) and the pannel members. Guide(s) as well as the panel members usually give their suggestions/comments on the report while going through it during the presentation. Some of the comments/suggestions are critical for the improvement and some are personal.

For those who have published many papers and are regular throughout the year – APS fever is not that high for them; for others the temperature is very high. Some times APS fever affects the brain resulting in depression and psychiatric problems. Suddenly life become very busy, even don’t have time to receive a call. Missing lunches/dinners are very common (of course eating Pizzas and visiting Gulmohar/Laxmi increases). Activities in the Labs get increased in many fold (if you want to get hold of some one in the APS season, then you should visit his/her lab post dinner πŸ™‚ ), night-outs become regular events, serious(!) discussions with guide(s) become a part of daily routine, queues at the Xerox/Photocopy shops become unbounded πŸ™‚ Getting ready for the APS day!

The most important and crucial time is the presentation time on the APS day. Some get bowled, some score six, some are cut-behind and some score a couple. Guide(s) usually help his/her student during the presentation. In most of the cases they give hints to the queries raised by the panel members and clarify a lot of issues. But, in some cases they just come in an attacking mood and instead of helping the student, they create most of the problems. Like discouraging the student at the time of presentation, asking some vague questions, raising doubts on some technical issues, finding faults with the method of work, etc.; as if venting out their frustrations on the student and become personal 😦 . Some time the panel members come in the rescue mode and step into the fight between the student and the guide. As the outcome of the presentation “a few get extension and repeat APS and most of them get go ahead signal”. Some cry, some defend and some accept with a pinch of salt.

Though in the ideal case both the student and guide(s) are responsible for the outcome of the APS, student gets the banging often. Of-course in some cases students are responsible for the poor performance, but it is not true in all. As usual guide(s) are very busy with so many activities, both in professional and personal fronts. It is obvious that they do not have that much time to spend like the student on a particular topic. But, the amount of experience and maturity level they have must be of use for the benefit of the students (which does not happen). In some cases they hardly spend time with their students on technical matters. But, that is not an excuse for the student. It is the student’s PhD and he/she is fully responsible for that; starting from choosing the guide and topic to publishing papers and defending the thesis.

Life goes on; in a different way for some days after APS, then one gets used to it and the (fear of ) preparation for next APS or Pre-syn starts. The thick (thin?) line between pre- and post-APS disappears and the joy/eagerness to complete (!) PhD increases.

aamjunta… how is your life in the pre- and post- APS? Must be enjoying πŸ™‚ Do share.

PS: This article is dedicated to all Research Scholars of IIT Bombay. For the benefit of the reader, APS stands for Annual Progress Seminar. It is an annual event and each Research Scholar (PhD Candidate) has to appear for the APS once in a year. Monthly scholarship/fellowship gets renewed only after the successful completion of the APS. Similar activities can be observed in MTP/DDP/BTP presentations also.

And at the End of the Day …

Yes this is the end of the day…. uploading this article that I promised at the beginning of the day πŸ™‚

Couple of days back we had our Valfi (Valedictory Function). The function was great, attended by many dignitaries. But, the response we got from people for whom the function was arranged was pale. Hardly 50% of the number expected turned up for the event, even though repeated reminder emails were sent and some had even confirmed through emails that they will attend. And the time sense … 😦 , better not to discuss. Neither I am cribbing here about the attitude of people in general, nor I’m worried about their responses. I’m just reflecting upon a general trend which I have experienced for the past one year or so.

The trend I observed was quite interesting, and some times frustrating though! For instance, some of the feedback we got from people during valfi were quite interesting, “no comments” every where, and in some, “this is bad, that is bad and so on”. In most of the cases, the feedback we got, from people for whom we did so much was frustrating as most of them were ignorant about their own state and environment. The other interesting fact I experienced is people’s attitude about achievements. Many are always crazy about what others’ achieve not about what they themselves achieve or should achieve. They are curious and critical about why some one else got an award, but don’t reflect about why they did or did not get that award. I don’t find the statement, “I envy nobody, nobody envies me” true any more; instead it has changed to “I envy nobody, but somebody envies me”, true most of the times. Should I say this as “Leg pulling”? It is just the de-construction of construction πŸ™‚ .

The other instance is IITBGeneral. One can witness infinite number of emails on silly things and even out of context discussions, without a single point of implementation or action. I’m not against the discussion in IITBGeneral — what worries me is some thing different. People have enough time to crib through emails, because that is free. They spend hours and hours on discussing and cribbing that happened this didn’t happen or that didn’t happen; but will not spend a moment reflecting what good has been done for them or how things can be actually improved from the point of “non-happening” in the real sense. One will hardly find any one physically if he/she wants some thing to be done. Their concerns are just confined to emails and discussions in news groups, but how does discussions help the “common man”? I still have not been able to figure out in my 6 yrs of IITB life. That reminds me the famous “Armchair Agriculture” of the writer RK Narayan.

There is a wide gap between action and intention. When the fellowship hike came into light we were bombarded with emails — “when will it be hiked?, “what is the amount?”, “when will it get implemented?”, “it has already got implemented in such and such place” and so on. Fortunately or unfortunately, I hardly got any mail after the scheme got implemented. Fortunately, because my mailbox didn’t get spammed πŸ™‚ , unfortunately, because it shows the selfishness and ignorance in the same aam junta. They want their things to be done but don’t want to contribute a pie to the process. Then why would some one else do for them? – that is the big question!

One more interesting thing one must have experienced during his/her research career is the thesis submission and its duration. It is the most disturbing and irritating moment for a research scholar, when he/she is pellted with the questions like, “when are you completing?” , “how many years left?”, “how long have you taken?”, etc. It is more frustrating when a fellow research scholar quizzes these things, not to know earnestly as to what have you done or how are you placed? Rather to show what he/she is up to. Some are crazy about finishing things quickly and leave. But, that should be personal, not generally expressed. In my opinion, PhD is not a time bound process. It should not be valued in terms of years, rather should be valued in terms of quality and quantity of work. One has to realize that the quality of things one learnt in the process is important. PhD should not be treated as a set point, rather should be treated as a journey; if one spends his/her hard work he will definitely reach at a point, where he/she can philosophize — and a PhD degree of course. Saying that, neither I am undermining and nor am I de-emphasizing the time frame set by an institute to complete a PhD. It should be followed, but with a positive spirit, not to put unnecessary peer pressure to just complete rather than one should aim to complete qualitatively. One of my Professors at IIT Bombay used to ask, Have you done a good literature survey? – if you are a first-yearite, do you have a problem at your hand? – if you are a second yearite, how are you doing? – if you are a third yearite, and how is life? – if you have crossed the 4years limit πŸ™‚

Yes, let me ask – how is life my friends? Must be enjoying. Keep doing and complete as soon as possible. Remember, It is your PhD, and at the end of your PhD, it is the quantity and quality of work that matters, the quality of understanding in your respective disciplines that matters, which will sail you through the rest of your life. One should remember, we all are fellow Research Scholars and we will get PhDs from our respective departments, from our respective streams earlier or later and at the end of our tenures. So treat your peers as fellow research scholars, not as any superior or inferior.

And at the End of The Day — we all are fellow human beings who are made of flesh and blood and should have some respect and concern for another human being.

Aamjunta kya khayal hai?

This article is dedicated to all my fellow research scholars of IITs and any other universities.

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