Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pearls of wisdom I learned during my PhD

Just sharing with you guys some of the many lessons I learnt during my PhD....add more if you have any....

1.      Better call your guide before you go to meet him/her. Have an appointment, fix a time according to her convinience coz chances are that even if you did call her beforehand you might have to wait and you will be left guessing and asking everyone else where she is. Imagine you get up early, get dressed, planned everything and realized she’s on leave or she’s taking class the entire morning session, or that she has to attend meeting the whole day. You will feel shitty, right?

2.      Use a notebook for your entire research. It is easier for you to refer later. That way you save precious time and your poor brain isn’t left confused and guessing as to where you have jotted down some important lines.

3.      Do NOT get addicted to any kind of game or social networking sites. I am addicted to candy crush and I am paying the price.

4.      Do not forge the results. If the result is non-significant, so be it. Field works are meant to be done at field and not at the comfort of your room. Get out, apply sunscreen, keep your pepper spray ready and go out and rock the field. We really need cool, smart and inspiring youths in the field. I know of people who filled the questionnaire in the room, data analysis done by boyfriend, slides prepared by fiancé and research paper written by the guides and published in journals. Kinda makes me lose faith in published works.

5.      Keep your patience and temper in check.

6.      Do not be disheartened if you have burnt the midnight oil and you put forth all your work with so much expectations and it is being dismissed with the wave of a hand.

7.      Working with excel is fun, do your data analysis yourself, learn the right way of doing things and above all go for multitasking.

8.      Ignore the rivalry, the hypocriticism, cynicism. Don’t let negative energy influence you.

9.      The guide is ALWAYS right…you are lucky if you get someone who is flexible.

10.  Try to push your way through in the most polite manner.

11.  Respect is earned and not forced.

12.  Always carry a book or have a game installed in your phone so that you have something to indulge in while waiting….coz cumulatively counted i think the time you spent in waiting is a zillion times more that time spent discussing your research.

13.  If your parents, boyfriend/girlfriend or friends are visiting find a valid reason for you not showing up… of the many times where lying actually works if your guide cant understand your predicament.

14.  The better the conference, the better the food.

15.  Conference is not just about food or visiting new place and making a fool of yourself like many of us. It can be a good learning experience.

16.  Not submitting your PhD thesis just coz you have no idea what you gonna do after your PhD and surviving on your scholarship is a huge gamble.

17.  Nothing sails smoother during PhD than having a group of friends who are helpful, smart and equally clueless about the future as you are.

18. Guys are intimidated by girls who are pursuing PhD.... So even if I always claim that intelligent girls are enormously sexy, if you are pursuing PhD and still single..lets face it...not every random guy is gonna ask you out before thinking twice. He is a keeper if he stands by you even if you are spilling over your frustration to him or yelling at him for no fault of his. Marry him girl coz you're never gonna find someone like him again. Just like Marilyn Monroe says...if he can't handle you at your worst, he sure as hell don't deserve you at your best. ;)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

27 wishes

And yet again I celebrated my birthday…and now I am 27 and still counting. Yeah, I am getting older or should I say “wiser” in the most diminutive way? May be I have reached a point in my life where I ought to lie my age (hahaha)!! 27 years of life with not so much an achievement that I can flaunt off…yet proud of the person I have grown to be. I have always considered birthday celebrations to be overrated but not anymore. Atleast not when I have friends who send me flowers every year on my “born” day and this time around I even had surprise deliveries that made my heart miss a beat, and loved ones walking extra miles just to make me feel precious. I know I may not be rich enough to go for a shopping spree without even having a glance at the price tag, but when it comes to love and friendship; I know I have enough that can last a lifetime. What more can I ask for? With friends who wake up at midnight by setting alarm and wishing me in their sleepy voices, dancing like ducks at the beat of “Pappu can’t dance, saala”, cutting the cake twice, ricksaw rides searching for a picnic spot and having reached the spot…gobbling everything that can be eaten, our “Thor” taking us out for movie Thor 2, gifting me the book I have always wanted to have….I have more than a hundred reasons to indeed feel precious and loved. And for my friend, who left us for his heavenly abode, I truly missed you and I wish peace be with you wherever you are.

They told me to make a wish and I did…and may be it is these blessings that I had wished for. I don’t know where I will be in my next birthday but as long as I have these wonderful people in my life “loneliness” will hardly be a part of me. So before I hit the 30 mark, I wish to seize the opportunity to exhibit all the confidence and skill that I have, do my bit for my people and the society and keep doing some more, have that library which I so long have wanted, make my love life less complicated (sigh), laugh some more, forgive and forget, check my patience and temper which seems even more augmented with age….and the list goes on.

I say "thank you" with the best smile you gave me. What am I without you??  :) 

Monday, 21 October 2013

My third gender friends!! :)

I recently read a newspaper article about a transgender who opened a boutique at Madurai. She stated that she wanted to lead a noble life by running her own textile store. She had MBA degree yet she has been denied job opportunities owing to her gender. She was the first of her kind to set off for such a venture. I think such inspiring news should be made headlines everyday instead of publishing news of celebrities and their overrated lifestyles.

In our country, the mere sight of transgender sets off disgusting sighs and having a faceoff with them is the last thing one can hope for. I remember an incident vividly that make me smile whenever it crosses my mind. Once I was travelling from Delhi to Ludhiana alone. As usual, I was deeply engrossed in a book hardly aware that the train was half empty. Suddenly I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and a husky voice dressed in sari greeted me lent out her hand and asked me to give some money. I immediately recognized the predicament. I was startled, looked blankly at her and impulsively said “Bheiya…no no Didi…no….Bheiya!!” I just didn’t know what to address her. She smiled. I just hoped that she must have wanted me to call her “Didi”. So I said “Didi, I don’t have change.” She just smiled and left. I just heaved a sigh of relief coz she was gentle and left without making a scene. Of course I empathise with them but earning a means of livelihood by asking money from others just coz they are transgender is really inconsiderable.

Well, back at home I am sure the taboos still exist but homosexuals have really carved a niche for themselves. From dance groups to beauty salons, make up artists to fashionistas, homosexuals in Manipur are synonymous to beauty experts and the likes of it. Even if I have seen men frown at the mere mention of “homos” I feel that we owe them the respect that they deserve as they try to fit in this world inspite of all the discrimination and abuse they face. Every time I visit home, I get my hair done by them. They are the best in terms of style and price. At such times I always encourage them to come to the metros and start their enterprise. May be they are still scared to leave the comforts of their home, or may be its just that they are still abused in their own soil that daring to venture in unknown territories is still too risky….whatever it is, I am sure they have something to teach the rest of their counterparts in the rest of the country…to live a life in the most noble way inspite of all the loathing and hatred they endure. For once, we need not question sexuality rather humanity should be perked up. 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Admission blues and Chinese toppings!!

I have been called a lot of things by many people who love me and who hate me. Well I am not here to prove myself righteous coz I know there are many shades in my personality but among all the qualities I appreciate and wish to inculcate, I should say what I really really need is PATIENCE…lots and lots of it. I have like zero tolerance when it comes to waiting and I have suffered a great deal coz I just run out of this so called “patience” almost all the time. Be it waiting for my turn in my hostel mess, sneaking around my Supervisor’s office when she is having those long talks with her colleagues about God knows what, even the few seconds of Ad in Youtube before they show the video are just so hard to endure. May be I should take them as opportunities to work on my patience but I am telling you….I have been working it for so long without much result whatsoever. 

Every Semester there is Registration of every student of my university and you can imagine how everyone is in hurry and the long queues in every counter. And we have to pay for atleast 3 receipts for some stupid activities which we never participate not to mention that the amount we pay keeps increasing every year and the students pay without questioning even once as to where the money is going. Imagine struggling in a queue that moves at a snail’s pace at 40 degrees, sweat drenched, running around offices for signatures only to realize that there is a tea break and you have to wait another half an hour for one damned signature coz you cant do anything about it. Then there are Professors who torment you by asking about your progress in the last semester and cornering you as though you have done nothing except eat and sleep and gossip all this time. Somehow dragging myself along throughout the entire campus, I registered myself and legally became a student of the university….my patience tried many times, tired, frustrated, my anger beyond bounds.

I guess my friends were also feeling the same storm inside them as we were walking silently. Suddenly there was this group of about 5/6 men who saw us and they started whispering among themselves “Chinese” “Nepali” or something. They walked past us. I turned and shouted back “Bheiya, hum log Chinese nahi hain. Aap log kya samajte hein humko? Aap log kyun kuch nahi jante? Kaha se aaye ho? (Brother, we are not Chinese. What do you think of us? Why are you so ignorant? Where have you come from?) All my anger and frustrations took charge and I was spilling it over to them. Poor men, they just turned around, smiled shyly, whispered something to each other and walked away. And I should tell you I never felt so much better. I felt as though I won a fight and smiled triumphantly at my friends and we all laughed. Other days we might have just ignored it as it wasn’t the first time that they have called us names but not when my patience is tried.

I have read somewhere that you become impatient coz you are selfish enough NOT to realize that other people’s priorities are also important. And I so don’t want to be this person but sometimes it gets so difficult. Whatever it takes, I need to keep trying coz I know all I need to do is wait….soon enough everything is gonna be just perfect for me :) 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Beauty is the night

Looking past my window I see the ever so beautiful moon, the soft wind playing with my hair and occasionally I have to tuck a few of my stranded hair behind my ear and carry on with my thoughts as I pen it down. So majestic and serene, and I know the moment is perfect coz every bit of my body is soaked in the beauty of the moment. The stars seem to lay a blanket over the black sky. Does the stars feel jealous of the moon coz its the moon that every poet talks about, the moon that every lover grew to be fond of....the moon whose beauty have bedazzled the hearts of every artist. And yet, I am sure many of us are like the stars....somehow our lives are eclipsed by the ghastly presence of something more heavenly and utterly beautiful like the moon......but yet again, when the moon goes down, in moonless nights, it is the stars that lit up the sky in all its glory, the stars that guide the sailors, the stars that make the moonless night even more matter how long the wait is, there will be atleast a moonless night when our glory will be seen and appreciated....and we've gotta wait for that day...coz its so much worth it!!

As the moon spread its magical beams across the sky I wonder is it the same moon that bore witness when history it the same moon that saw Noah build the ark, the same moon when historic battles were fought, the same moon that saw the rise and fall of empires....coz for sure such peaceful nights reminds me of the many nights I spent with my long lost friends cracking silly jokes, the beautiful moon making me fall in love with the one whom I used to think was the love of my life...a love that faded with time...and yet I know it was perfect!!

Such is the loyalty of the moon. She keeps your secrets, offers you solace and heals your broken hearts and stands by you when you have an aching heart......and after all these years it still stands tall and pretty as ever....witnessing history and perhaps making mankind even more humane.

Source: Google

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Back to normal

Ah....been so long since I updated my blog. So, I went home...stayed there for a few weeks and flew to Bangalore with friends to visit the ever so dreamy Coorg. And yes, it did felt like a dream. The cool breeze, the scenic beauty, the mild showers and yummy food and the long bus rides. It was perfect....even more than perfect coz when you visit new places with your closest friends the excitement is doubled. I just wish that we had a longer visit coz there were so much more to be explored.

There I was at home a few weeks ago savouring the home-cooked steamed foods with boiled vegetables, visiting friends and relatives, dressed in our traditional attires, attending weddings, going on long drives with friends, listening patiently to my Mom as she teach me life lessons...spending every bit of my vacation in the best way I could. Then I flew to Delhi for some family work.....Well, I wonder how people dont get roasted at Delhi? Its just too hot there...So when I finally reached Bangalore..the first thing I noticed apart from the grinning face that greeted me was the weather.....perfect!! And I knew, I was gonna have some wonderful days ahead of me. From North-East to North to South India, wasnt I just enjoying every bit of it? So vast, so different not even remotely close to each other in terms of looks, food, dresses, culture...every bit of it...yet bound together by a single thread...splendid!!

So here I am once again, wishing and hoping to submit my dessertation in time. I know I have some rough months ahead and I have to be at my Supervisor's mercy for some more time.....and may be when I feel low in days to come I can unlock the treasure trove of memories and it may just help me to survive the trying times that lay ahead of me...Well, good luck to me!! ;)

Somewhere at Coorg, Karnataka

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Home is where the FAMILY is :)

I have become more like a guest at my home. Its been almost 10 years since I left home to continue my studies. And now, home is just a feeling....A feeling which sweeps me once in a year or may be if I am lucky enough I get it twice a year. I cant remember the last time when my whole family were under the same roof or dining together or making fun of each of other....its been such a long long time. For now, I just am happy that I get to pack my bags for going home again coz it is something which I have been missing for so long. I cant wait to see those beaming faces waiting for me.....the overwhelming love that makes me all so teary-eyed. And I know as much as I am excited to go home, it will be much more the pain when the time comes for me to depart. There, my Mom will stand concealing her tears, my Dad blinking away tears lest they would make me weak and I, pretending to be strong and I would excuse myself as though I forgot something important and cry my heart out in my room before saying "goodbye". Every year it has been the same. The same excitement before going home....counting every day and the same pain when the time comes for me to leave.

But for now, let me just relish this moment of excitement for in a day or two I get to feel the warm embrace of my Mom and the ever so protective aura of my Dad. They have been waiting for long, and it doesn't matter if it will not last long......coz....their daughter is finally coming HOME!! :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Echoes from beyond

I saw him yet again
His whisky breath and swollen eyes
And he still had the bottle in his hand
They said it would make him numb
But for him it was twice the pain

There he sat at the same old place
He even offered her a drink
And she just watched silently
Slurry voice telling tales of failures
Of love lost and loneliness

Yet again, he shouted out loud
Dragging his feet Oh, so close
Keeping his head on the stone
And he apologized one more time
And again, promised to bring her flowers

The rustling leaves and cold stone woke him
And on the stone was written
“In God’s care. Alice”

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Goodbye, my friend!!

Of all the goodbyes I ever said this sure is the hardest and the worst is that I have no other way to bid farewell to you. I am not sure if you will like this post of mine like you always used to do but I am putting in the best for you my friend. This is the least I can do for you. So many regrets, so many questions, so many unfulfilled promises and shattered dreams, so much of tears, pain and broken hearts and yet we can’t stop living. I still feel that you will show up with that infectious smile of yours and your voice ever so gentle. Did you wished for a second chance when you realized that it was all coming to a tragic end? I am sure you are in a much happier place now but the void you left in the hearts of your loved ones is truly irreplaceable. Never again will a mother hear the voice that lifts her soul, never again will a father be assured that his son will lend a shoulder to lean on, never again will a sister adore the beauty of life, and never again will a brother feel whole again. Even if the sun has set for you, your love continues to exist in the hearts of those who care for you. It all seems like a difficult to let it go so easily.

Isn't it  foolish to nurture all the jealousy, hatred and hurt when we are not even sure of our existence the next moment? We never know when a dear one will leave us today. Please take a moment to appreciate life and make someone happier even in the most insignificant manner…..coz you know, every act of kindness counts!! As always, what we really need is a little bit more love.

Stay blessed!!
 Rest in peace my are precious.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Rest in peace, sister

Source: Google

When it is a crime against women, its shameful that we have so reasons to blame the woman. If its not her dress that provoked the culprit, it certainly is because she ventured out alone and didn’t take enough care to protect her womanhood. May be she became a victim to atrocities because she was too naïve to really recognize the demon wearing the mask of a saint, or may be that her innocence gave way to her chastity, all the more excuse for the moral police to condemn her. The death of Ningombam Satyabhama is one such tragic incident…such an inhumane and gruesome act. It shudders to think what we have become!

They say she was killed by a man, who took advantage of her innocence and she silently became a victim of extortion of all sorts and the price she paid was her life. And to all of you who questioned her chastity, shame on you!! We have no right to judge her when we ourselves have savoured sexuality no matter how discreet or trivial it was. There she lies, her lifeless body bearing witness to brutality and speaking volumes of the pain she endured minutes before her death….how she must have pleaded for her life realizing that every second she is closer to death!! And they disposed of her body as though it was a carcass, half exposed and mutilated that became an eyesore for onlookers, and yet there were children and other minors watching it with so much curiosity. Such a ghastly picture imprinted in the young minds which I am sure will haunt their innocent for many years to come.
Souce: Google

It is just sad that the people of Manipur have no choice then to call for bandhs and strikes and damage public transport when we are faced with such situations thus crippling the already paralyzed system. But then, we have so few choices coz the authority seems to hear the plea of commoners only when the streets are empty and shops are shut. If not the concerned authority, there’s a host of organizations to bring justice to the many whose voices are not heard and to them the people still have hope and faith. We have no choice but to believe in this already failing legal system that justice will be delivered to the deceased and her family. It is just a matter of time. Even if the convict have gone into hiding or fled from Manipur, sooner or later he will have to face the consequences. Or maybe, just may be this is just another case which will quickly disappear just like it stormed in, when people got busy with their own lives!! 
I seriously hope not.

Rest in peace sister.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Happy Wo(MAN)'s day!!

A few days ago, I had many of my friends especially my guy friends wishing me “Happy Women’s Day”…I had nothing else to say except politely thank them. I wish there’s also a Men’s day so that we can appreciate men for all the great works they’ve done for our species. Somehow I feel sorry that amidst all this hue and cry of women empowerment and rights of women and such serious feminist stuffs, somewhere along the way, we have generalized all men to be chauvinists. We have painted them all with the same colour which is really really unfair.

Last week when I was at Delhi, infamously called as the Rape capital, I was all geared up with a pepper spray in hand, flaunting it to the taxi driver as I was travelling alone. He must have read my mind or something coz he had that stupid looking smirk on his face and I ended up feeling stupid. After reaching my destination, he handed my luggage, smiled politely and asked “Madam, aur kuch?? I could not help but smile at his innocence. Am I really becoming so self-possessed and judgmental? Or it may be just that we are just too preoccupied with fending ourselves that we risk losing our courteous manners.

On a positive note, I must admit that life is so much easier being a woman. Quite often there’s always a chivalric gentlemen who offers his seat while I am hustling in a crowded bus, the queue is definitely quicker for women be it in banks, post office or any other public services, I can hold hands with my best friend whenever I want without disapproving stares, it just take a couple of hours to get a hundred likes when I upload a picture, and many times a flirty smile is all it takes to get a work done. And so often many of the guys tease me saying “Why do you need a PhD? There is some nice guy out there earning a PhD for you. You just have to find him”!! As easy as that!! In short, there’s so much to celebrate about being a woman.

As for me, no matter how much tall claims they make, I just cant understand the need to have a separate day to celebrate being a woman. We talk about equality on one hand and again we feel special when we have such separate days for us. We protest for equality and yet we have this unfair reservation policies which segregates us into different categories!! What an irony!! How about empowering our girls to be independent and teaching them how to give and earn respect? Let us teach our girls to say NO at the right time not at the expense of losing her modesty and grace. After all, women are in no competition against men. If equality is what we are striving for, then so be it…..we are only humans and let us stay humane. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day chants!!

Ah, here it is again, my favourite time of the year…the month of February. I never knew that they have a thing called Valentine’s week until last year with all these days…Chocolate day, Teddy day, Promise day, Hug day and oh…there’s even a Kiss day!! Its Valentine’s day today; no doubt love is in the air. Whatever they say, love will always be the HAPPENING thing. Perhaps this is the reason why inspite of all these bans on celebrating Valentine’s Day and a modest crowd going Anti-Valentine, there is a dearth of people who’s leaving no stone unturned to convey their love.

 I bet it’s the busiest time of the year for florists. I have never really sent flowers to anyone. All thanks to facebook, I learnt that there’s a Ferns and Petals store at Imphal (my hometown) and I was super-excited. I guess I inherited my craze for flowers from my Mom…she makes sure that our home has all these pretty flowers blooming and she sure has green fingers. So, I called the Ferns and Petals number from their website…oh it wasn’t working so I emailed them. They responded within hours and called me back. I ordered a bunch of roses of different colours and before I could tell for whom I was ordering, the guy at the other end of the line interrupted sweetly. He said in his most sincere tone “Mam, I am sorry to tell you this but you see as you know, here in Manipur, our society reacts a little differently when we go to deliver flowers to girls….if you know what I mean…..the fathers and brothers have all these questions…….” I stopped him immediately. “Oh, I am ordering flowers for my Mom, so its okay” I smiled and told him. I could feel him exhale out of relief. He again apologized. I totally understand his situation. I am sure the delivery guy must have had many misadventures when he goes to deliver flowers. I can hardly think of my Dad’s reactions if a cute guy comes with a bunch of flowers for me….he’d surely be cornered…big time!! The florist went on to tell that a few days ago he delivered flowers to a girl, ordered by his boyfriend from Bangalore to surprise her. The girl was beaming so happily when she took the flowers that he could not help but feel happier and contented. And this is what keeps him moving… spread love, to make strangers happy, or perhaps just to make someone feel special.

So to all my amazing readers, here’s what it is. Let us not stop loving. Let us not stop hoping and moving on. What really matters is that through all the embarrassments and guilt trips, through all the pain and sleepless nights and broken hearts, you can still hope that love is sure more closer to you than someone who has never loved anybody at all. Just for a moment, let us shed our ego, our pride, our arrogance and be true to our feelings. Let us bring a smile to someone who is less happy than us, someone who need more love than we do. What we all need is a little bit more love.

Perhaps this will make Valentine’s Day even more meaningful.

Happy Valentine’s Day folks!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Words put together

I don’t know for whom I write. I know there are millions who write better than me and many times my writings are not even worth reading. Its just that all this scribbling has become a way of my life and perhaps I have learnt to tame my heart, my fears and forgive myself through sheer words. Some of my friends told me that they understand me better through my writings and some even claim that I am an emotional freak so easy to please….God, they are right!! It all began when I was a kid, when I got my first diary and its all still there….all my memories of childhood, all these years as I grew up to be the person I am today….everything. Earlier I used to write for myself but now how I wish I can write for a better purpose. I keep striving but I know I have too many flaws and it only makes me feel smaller. May be I am just another girl with just another dream.

 I guess tonight is one of those many nights when I feel awfully worthless and the only way to seek solace is to look at the dark sky and feel the vast emptiness envelop me. 

And for you, my forgiven past, I write.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New beginnings

Five days into the New Year and here’s my first post of the year. So the Mayan fiasco has come to an end and we survived….what a huge relief!! As for me, my new year began in the best note with huge surprises and heart melting gestures, amidst giggling friends fighting the brutal cold…..and I know…I just can feel that this year is gonna be great and to tell you that hopefully this may be the last year that I will be a “student” as I intend to submit my PhD thesis and bid goodbye to student life….this is huge!!

Nonetheless, I can’t help but pay tribute to the 23 year old who was gang raped. My heart reaches out for her. She must be unaware of the events of the day when she stepped off from home on that fateful day…that her world will come to a crashing end by the brutality of some men whom the entire nation condemn...just another girl whose death shook the entire nation but the repercussions are yet to be seen.

I wonder how many rape victims got justice coz it’s just that when finally all the hues and cries of the masses have dwindled down and everyone get busy with their lives, the victim will still be haunted with the ghosts of the past and will be left struggling for a lifetime....It is like a social disease and it’s a shame that the Delhi case seems to have triggered many such incidents all over the country as we find media reports of such horrific incidents everyday adorning the pages of the dailies. What else do we say? We need to change the mentality of the society first instead of playing blame games.

So my New Year wishes is that, let the spirit ignited by “Damini” “Nirbhaya” “Amanat” not go in vain. Let every women get the respect she deserves. May this New Year bring peace to my homeland and to every reader of my blog, may every day be a day worth celebrating.

Wishing you all a year filled with love, hope, peace, happiness and success. :)

Rest in Peace sister.