Friday, June 29, 2012


It was quite a pleasant surprise when my guide ordered a cake and some eatables on my birthday last year. Equally surprised were the rest of my labmates because he refrains from indulging in such acts. He never remembers birthdays and even if is reminded of any, politely wishes and resumes his work. So it definitely was shocking that he arranged for this.

I joined the lab on the 2nd of January 2006 as a project assistant. I stayed for a year and three months and rejoined as a PhD student a year later. I what he said on the first day of my joining. He said "You've been selected because the interview panel found you to be worthy, so I am warning you not to abscond in a few weeks or months time. Stay here at least for a year, get your experience, clear you scholarship and then join PhD wherever you want after that."

I remember that I couldn't really perform that well in my project assistantship. I could generate ideas but my hands weren't good. The problem was that I had absolutely no self-confidence. In retrospect, I'd say that everyday I'd prepare to fail.

One day, the HOD from my alma mater Thapar University, where I did my MSc from, sent a message to my guide through Dr. Anand Bacchawat asking how I was doing and saying that I was a good lad. There were so many other instances withing IMTECH of people praising me in front of my guide. I remember one evening my guide looked me in the eye and said "Hmmmm!! seems like except me, the rest of the world things you're good." Many aspects of life changed for me during my stay here. 2006 also happens to be the year that I started blogging, opened up a bit and gained confidence. 

When it was time to leave in March 2007, I was down and out; both emotionally and career-wise. The first-half of 2007 was tortuous but the second-half was life-changing. I joined GRE coaching, realized my potential, gained more confidence, worked at Pearson, worked at PGI, got a decent GRE score, scored awesome in TOEFL and cleared both ICMR and CSIR PhD scholarship exams.

In 2008 after forgoing my plan to pursue PhD abroad because of dad's ill-health, I joined IMTECH under the guidance of Dr. D Sarkar, my guide. He told me that if I wanted to join him, he'd keep me in the Epo project and that it was a risky affair and that if at the end of my tenure, I'd have nothing in hand, I should neither blame him nor feel about the others doing well (which he knew they will in the Mtb project).

The first two years were a torture, then I got a breakthrough managed to refold the pain-in-the-butt Epo. Strange as it may seem, most of my big results initially came when boss was out-of-town and I was at my tweaking best without his interference. After that he changed his stance towards me.

Of course my personal-life problems kept plaguing my work for a while. Thankfully boss knew that everything would be alright once I get married and settle down a bit. He himself mellowed down with time.

I got married three weeks ago. In all this time, he's been very adjusting with all the nerve-wrecking problems I faced to materialize my marriage to my sweetheart. Phew! We finally made it despite all the problems and my guide made things easier for me on the career side of things.

In all these years, he's changed, I've changed and our impression about each other has changed. Life's tough but life's good  :)

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