Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catharsis of a research scholar part 1

Many of you would have ended up on this blog for tips on research and that is exactly what I have been refraining from writing. Though this blog came out as an effort to ventilate my thoughts I never wanted to write about research. Firstly because I could not be blatant about how I felt about it while pursuing my programme at an institute and secondly I held a lot of reverence to the academic world.

Every research has a tale of woes and relentless struggle attached to it. If anyone believes its an ideal world out there, the first thing research teaches you is disappointment. The sooner you learn to adjust to them , better a researcher you become. Something else I have learned from research is to associate everything I read and live to my research, I don't know how it can be done in sciences but in social sciences and humanities there are plethora of opportunities for unfolding this possibility.

I was reading few tips on ethnographic fieldwork and there came up a point " chose contrasting settings for rewarding lessons". o maybe from a hospital or prison I can get insights about school life. I pondered over this for hours. And I admit the reflexivity you gain as a researcher is your best asset in life.
As I ponder over these lines,I can't stop myself from comparing a good research to a good marriage. They are contrasting environments yet so similar to me.
A guide and your husband can be thesis and antithesis in your life. Sometimes supportive sometimes not it all depends on your fortune and how you make the best out of it.Research problems sometimes disappoint you just like problems in your married life. There will always be an urge to quit but you always get stopped thinking is it worth it? And more the years you invest more hesitant you feel to quit. The brave and foolish or the Coward and wise ( in the same combination) choose to quit or stay back despite differences.

With years of experience one stops expecting from research or from life. It becomes a part of you.
Infidelity hurts, be it from a partner or a promising research. Yet every day you rise repeating the Royal Stag tagline -" I will make it large". Now it depends on your perspective if you are fooling yourself or giving it a new beginning. Sometimes you enter this relationships looking for specific gains, sometimes you don't know why you chose this. Disappointments or unexpected rewards could be your results such is a marriage or a research again. Sometimes love in in initial years diminishes slowly. Passion and love, dedication and patience are the keywords to both these worlds.

Papers and books are borne with labour pains as child, they are aborted or miscarried or risked both to be brought forth . All throughout your partner's or guide's role is minimal and supportive or non supportive but you realise the onus is on you. After all as Gilbert said " having a kid is like getting a tattoo it stays forever". A thesis is no different, the thoughts and words you put in stays forever even if its on your shelf :) and does not cry and require investments. A lot of the efforts defines your future.

Finally, you end up contentedly satisfied by your pangs years later or of the failure of not accomplishing. But if you succeed you have a thesis adorning your book shelf or a husband in your household and if you fail you have a void which you alone can decide what to fill with.

I am thankful for being married because it has helped me draw these parallels. This makes it an adventurous ethnography in itself :) as for the pains, let them be buried in the silences interspersed in these lines.

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