Sometimes research can be frustrating.We crib, we cry, we have our blues but we still can't quit this relationship with research. it's abusive at time addictive too. It still gets unbearable especially when people ask you " what the hell are you reading? ", " How will your research change the world ? " " Aren't you a bunch of losers? " Did you not end up here coz you got no job?"
Now I could say no we are super intelligent and uber cool, lets have a competition but then I am sure they don't remember half their concepts, they don't read anything new, or have done anything worthwhile recently. But then they might flash a couple of plastic cards and say look at this, this and this and this........
( A friend of mine eagerly showed a gold card the bank gave her) My eyes would pop out if it were Saramago's 'Cain' , I know it's crazy but it matters more than a gold card to me.
So to answer all those honest questions in my IIT Madras dialect I would say " I don't know ya" or rather " I don't care ya " , its not as if you are carrying the world's burden by working at a place and why can't research be a job? It is self fulfilling in many ways though I can't get a gold card :), if I think of all the new things I get to read. Yeah, I don't get paid as much I would if I work but I would not experience a lot of things if I worked.
I sleep when I like, I can survive on 4 pairs of clothes, I don't worry about my nails, my hair, my weight my appearance. I don't need spa's to relax. I work 7 days a week sometimes with no fruiful results and no idea where I am heading and when I would finish, and I guess that's a tough challenge. I don't worry about bonuses, I don't feel the pressure to buy what my colleague just bought ( My colleague just bought a 4 gb pen drive just now), I still ride a bicycle at 28 and Life's just great until............. someone bumps with these questions. And human that I am I fret for some time , ahem.... some days too and count my greys but resilience gets me back to myself ( and if that doesn't work some book works the wonder). After all this is the only thing that makes me feel I am unique, something that makes me passionate and my research is my own baby.
The fact is I am happy doing this though I know people out there think its weird reading Saramago or Camus or Kafka for leisure. Kafka who? some ask and why read such suicidal books some say. Frankly its not a pseudo intellectual halo I chose to wear- I don't claim I understand these authors but I am humble enough to attempt and admit defeat. Now that's something research taught me " Humility". To accept there is a lot I don't know, to accept the blunders others tell me too ( for even they don't know what they do at times). At least I don't buy thick fat books to decorate my living room they are there to tell me how many times I attempted and fail and I still try.
I have my perspective on everything I read and see though I am labelled a haughty, arrogant, impractical, feminist , good for nothing, Non- career oriented, stupid woman.I have my take on these people who put forth these dumb questions but I will reserve it for a later post.
I believe Life and research has two points in common " No short cuts and No compromise". We always do that in life, in our jobs . Some claim they do it in research but then its no research but just an act of puppetry.
And I don't mind putting things on hold, being humble and patient.
So next time someone asks me " what I am doing here"..................
I'll smile and listen to them because I don't need anything they have achieved to feel contented. I am happy the way I am.
Read first part of this series at