Pilani… PGRPE and one hell of a year….

This post is dedicated to all you wonderful people who made this one year special in Pilani.

Today, the 9th of August, we (read PGRPE) successfully complete one year of our stay in the remotest place any of us had visited-PILANI. Last year in May when I graduated from college as a proud Computer Engineer little did I know that I would have to choose between my 2 loves – Computers and Research. Finally my love for research got the better of me and as a result of an odd chain of events I secured an admission in one of the CSIR(Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) labs under the Post Graduate Research Programme in Engg(PGRPE). The dates for reporting in the campus were from 6th to 9th August,2010. After a lot of worst case scenario simulations my parents decided that it would be best to be in Pilani by 6th August since 7th and 8th were public holidays and we always assume the worst case would come true. So with a lot of apprehensions, anxieties and some hope I boarded the flight for Delhi accompanied by my mom and fiancé. The main reasons for my tension were :
1. I had no background in Electronics and the course for which I was selected was ‘ADVANCED Semiconductor Electronics” (life and its weird ways !!!)
2. I was the only female candidate who made it to the merit list in a class of 10..<sigh..>.

The course coordinator had sent instructions on how to reach Pilani from Delhi. Since we had no acquaintances in Delhi and Pilani was a 5 hour journey from the capital we decided to spend the night in the airport itself. That was a hell of a night without any sleep. The next day morning we reached the famous Kashmiri Gate Interstate Bus Terminal only to be “awed” by the filthy look it had. There was not even a single bus which looked boardable. We finally boarded the 9am bus to Pilani and the travel was tiresome on that hot and humid day. But then I got to see poverty for the first time in my life. Hailing from the state of Kerala which is famous for its uniform development, I had no idea that there were people really living in shacks all over the northern part of my country. I was under the impression that the slums of Mumbai and the like were just a minority. And on that day I realized that there could be advantages too to the socialist attitude that prevailed in my state.

We reached Pilani and got a room allotted in the guest house without much difficulty. The biggest attraction (and maybe the only attraction) here are the peacocks who roam about freely everywhere as if untouched by the human intrusion. Also I was surprised on seeing lots of trees. I was expecting those arid, dry deserts, sand dunes, women with pots of water and all those scenes which come to anyone’s mind when you think of Rajasthan. I was disappointed. I spotted even the first camel only after one or two weeks of stay here. <sigh.>

The weekend passed without much to do. Just roamed about in the BITS campus which is adjacent to our’s. Exchanged rings with my fiancé <blush>. Met my college friend in BITS and most of the time slept in my room. On 9th morning with lots of anxieties and hopes I reached the conference hall of our lab. There I found 10 new faces(none looked friendly or inviting). I still remember the only few people who even had the interest to talk to me. But all that changed as time passed by. We became best pals. But today I thank all the following people (names are not included) who made my day on 9th August 2010 [a] the one who gave me the first smile [b] one who gave me the first handshake [c] the one who lend me a pen when in need(though he did it with the weirdest of all expressions) [d] the ones who made me feel most welcome by saying they were hoping for a girl from Kerala to join to complete their group … and all others who made me feel at home in this far-off land.

The past one year has been the most eventful and hectic one in my life. Learnt a lot of new stuff– pn junctions, holes, electrons, transistors, optics, photonics, fields, waves, …….now the interesting part.. Cooking, maintaining a room, stay in hostel, roommate survival, “dealing”, surviving with boys all around and no female company,anxieties about the degree..…. Meanwhile I fractured my
leg, got my ATM card blocked for 4 months, bought a cycle which tortured me everyday, endured severe winter and summer , attended a live concert..and did so many more crazy things which I never thought I had the capability to do (thanks to all my dear brothers).. Pilani taught me a lot of lessons and gave a handful of awesome friends. As I complete one year of stay here I just want to tell you guys (classmates, batchmates and seniors(in seniors especially my ‘Di’s)) I love you all really a lot. You are the people who helped me survive through bad times and laughed with me during good times.. You are ones who stood with me through thick and thin.. You made my year soooo SPECIAL….

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Patience….

 

How many times have you lost all control over yourself ? How many times have you blasted out on someone and badly regretted having done so? I am sure there will be a very low minority who don’t experience these situations at least on a weekly basis if not on a daily basis..And I am no exception. But an experience which I had a few days ago got me thinking about patience and the importance a patient listening and patient explanation would have on someone’s life.

Most of us might have heard of the story which signifies how patiently our parents had taught us when we were too young and immature and how we lose our control when they behave like children in their old age.. All of us feel the depth of the story and understand the moral though our behavior never changes. Life would have been so easy if people changed their behavior after being impacted by stories. It I real-life incidents which can change a human being.

After going through the above 2 paragraphs if you are expecting some really emotional and life-changing incident you are sure to be disappointed. J I write this post as a dedication to the patience one of my teachers(or you can read guides) showed towards me. I have always been a very impatient person when it comes to teaching anyone. It is a well-known fact among friends and family that unless you are a very fast learner you will not be able to learn anything from me. I always used to complain how someone could be so illogical and for me any learning would happen only through logically analyzing thing let it be learning how to operate a mobile, connecting a cd player, driving or even cooking. But then I met a very humbling personality who changed the way I perceive things.

When I joined for a PG course in Semiconductor Electronics (and specialized in Photonics) after having a background in Computer Engineering I didn’t have much idea how I would be able to cope with it but thanks to some extremely motivating personalities ,I was able to survive in this whole new world of electronics research. When I took up a self study course in Diffraction Gratings without having any background in electromagnetism that too under a guide who is another part of the country everyone called it a wild-call. Though I was fairly confident that I will be able to pull it through I started losing confidence as time passed by. That’s when my guide made a one week visit to my lab. Each day he would spend time with me teaching me the very basics of electromagnetism and that’s when I realized that learning something which we are totally unfamiliar with is extremely difficult and I remembered how my mom would have felt when I used to try to teach her how to operate a mobile or to drive a car. It was totally new to her and she used to make all kinds of mistakes just like what I was doing with fields and waves. 🙂  I learnt the most important lesson that unless you are fundamentally clear about the subject or activity there is no way you can learn it howmuchever hard work you put in.

Now I am a changed person. I have promised myself that next time I try to teach someone I will definitely be patient and make sure that the I put in my 100% effort to make that person learn. And that itself makes me feel very relaxed and motivated..
Thanks for the patient reading. 🙂 Have a good day!

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