Monday, May 29, 2006

The Post Graduate

It’s been nearly two years since I set foot in Delhi. I had anticipated a long, protracted struggle. But to be honest, these two years have sped by at a pretty healthy clip-clop.

Getting sentimental is something that I have promised will never happen to me. Hence, whatever I feel about the two years here may seem stoical and cold to some, but believe me, its not so. It’s just being objective and matter-of-fact about certain things.

I had this chat with one of my good friends, advisors and occasional Chetak baiter, Sharath Rao. What followed was an introspective discussion about how I found M.Tech now that I had the ‘wisdom’ of two years.

This mail, which I had written in May 2004 started it: (if you are wondering where this came from, let me tell you that Sharath is one of the best archivists that I have known. It’s a surety that whatever you have communicated in writing to him, will be there forever, and may haunt you some time too!!!)

Date: 18 May 2004 10:00:09 -0000

Hey man

Thanks for the mail. You have really cleared all my doubts. I am now more convinced than before to do my M.Tech.

My joining is on July 29th. I have also got an interview call from BARC wherein if I clear the interview I get to study in IITD on a BARC stipend and at the end of it get to join BARC. I'm giving that a shot as well because
1) Its a good chance to get into NPCIL (nuclear power corporation)
2) I can also drift into the high tech areas like particle accelerators, power electronics,
robotics etc

Let’s see how it goes.

By the way
Smriti came out. The printer fucked up the book but still its grt. The cd is even better. I'll show it to you when I come home. It has a 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' special. Vitruvian is supposed to come out today.

Only Rao's paper left.

Nothing else here. What’s up on ur side?
Deepak


What follows is ‘declassified’ chat conversation, which we believe will hurt no one, specially after 2 years!!!

krishnandeepak1: man, those were the indecisive days..
krishnandeepak1: i might sound senti..but believe me..u were a catalyst in my decision..
sharath rao: huh....i was trying to dig out the mail i wrote to see what i wrote...but cant find it..
sharath rao: but thats interesteing...who else did u talk to abt this ?
krishnandeepak1: my dad
krishnandeepak1: and immanuel
sharath rao: oh...what did they have to say ?
krishnandeepak1: dad was mostly like "there are advantages of doing ur degree immediately after BE. but go only if u are sure 100%"
krishnandeepak1: immanuel was also more or less the same
krishnandeepak1: but he also added his IISc exp
sharath rao: that is ...?
krishnandeepak1: in addition to his tata days
krishnandeepak1: so he too showed me both the paths
krishnandeepak1: so with my dad and immanuel it was like i was able to see 2 paths after getting thru a fog
sharath rao: okay..okay..
krishnandeepak1: but final path, i owe it to ur mail..
sharath rao: do you have that mail man ? i cant find it damn ...!!
krishnandeepak1: wait
sharath rao: i feel honored
krishnandeepak1: lemme see
sharath rao: but how do you look back at it ....now that you have the benefit of hindsight....
sharath rao: okay..am waiting

krishnandeepak1: hmm..mixed feelings..one moment lemme get rid of one of my sleepy frns by giving him an address that he wants..

krishnandeepak1: i guess that mail exchange was in the bad old days of rediff when there was limited space...so lemme check thoroughly
krishnandeepak1: which id did i send my mail to??

sharath rao: lets see wait..
sharath rao: i have ur reply..in which u havent included my mail

krishnandeepak1: fuck..rediff is so unfriendly..i have to navigate a lot
sharath rao: i dont know..i had it an archive acc. i maintain ..which got disabled due to not loggin in for months together..
krishnandeepak1: ok
sharath rao: its may 18, 2004 ..around that time.
sharath rao: take it easy..take your time
sharath rao: some other day..
sharath rao: but continue...on but how do you look back at it ....now that you have the benefit of hindsight....
krishnandeepak1: ok..
sharath rao: fuck you ...
krishnandeepak1: well after 1st sem i was convinced that i had made the right choice
krishnandeepak1: though there were issues like distance, new ppl to tackle
krishnandeepak1: weather was another issue
krishnandeepak1: 2nd sem sowed the seeds of doubt
sharath rao: okay...okay..
krishnandeepak1: this was when all the guys started getting salary hikes
krishnandeepak1: and when my project also started (a mini proj)
sharath rao: guys as in ur krec peers in corp. world ?
krishnandeepak1: yeah
krishnandeepak1: plus faced real pressure and long periods of no-results in my project
krishnandeepak1: this was when thoughts like "what if" crept in
krishnandeepak1: then in the summer of 2005 i went home en-route Hyderabad
sharath rao: okay...okay..
krishnandeepak1: and asked my batchmate Bharath (chemical guy) to show me the oracle campus
krishnandeepak1: where i wud have been working if i had joined
krishnandeepak1: what i saw there was lotsa comforts..but none of the corporate guys were having a challenging life
krishnandeepak1: i mean all they did was code
krishnandeepak1: eat
krishnandeepak1: go to multiplexes
krishnandeepak1: and sleep on weekends
sharath rao: i know bharath...was ur partner on few occasions..nerd looking bespectacled
sharath rao: okay..okay..
sharath rao: okay..
krishnandeepak1: whereas i felt that i was doing something different atleast
krishnandeepak1: plus bharath also talked abt how i made the right choice etc etc
krishnandeepak1: so that was the story of 2nd sem
krishnandeepak1: 3rd sem was a mix
krishnandeepak1: that was when i started doing lotsa things at the same time..like games, music, project, studies etc
krishnandeepak1: it was a real hotch potch wrt time management
sharath rao: okay...interesting
sharath rao: then ?
krishnandeepak1: things went downhill..
sharath rao: blog
krishnandeepak1: and i also showed signs of cracking
krishnandeepak1: i even went to the extent of alomost quitting my course
sharath rao: OMG !
krishnandeepak1: luckily i stopped at the moment of paying for my train ticket..some inner voice..
sharath rao: dont tell me..you came that close to quitting it !!
krishnandeepak1: then the winter of december 2005 and the new year week proved to be my boost
krishnandeepak1: things came together
krishnandeepak1: just in time before the final sem started
sharath rao: okay..
krishnandeepak1: final sem proved to be a slightly bumpy ride for the first half
krishnandeepak1: but smoothened out towards the end
krishnandeepak1: the job helped things a lot...i must say
krishnandeepak1: took off a lot of pressure
sharath rao: true ..true...
krishnandeepak1: 4th sem was when i discovered myself as a person
krishnandeepak1: what i am capable of

krishnandeepak1: what my dark side is..what can really crush me

krishnandeepak1: what weaknesses i have
sharath rao: 4th sem is final sem..post feb 06 ?
krishnandeepak1: so in hindsight, i am glad i did this
krishnandeepak1: yes..Jan 2k6 to may 2k6
sharath rao: jan 06 i guess..
sharath rao: okay...i see..man some journey uuh..
krishnandeepak1: it has been a journey of self discovery..which i wud not have made if i had been in oracle
krishnandeepak1: i mean it wud have been a different journey,
krishnandeepak1: but not as varied as this
sharath rao: i guess that wud have been a different kind...
krishnandeepak1: yes yes
sharath rao: but u wudnt have a got an extra degree for making a journey of self-discovery..
sharath rao: u wud have gotta few bucks
sharath rao: but big deal ...!
krishnandeepak1: yep..but bucks are not that big a deal...thats one more thing that ahave realised

krishnandeepak1: they don't give u as much pleasure as a happy mind

sharath rao: Certainly the difference between happiness on the one hand and a good and meaningful life on the other can’t be overemphasized. Last year when I lectured to my introductory psychology class about happiness I made this point using a set of thought experiments from the late philosopher Robert Nozick.

sharath rao: If a genie offered you the possibility of living the rest of your life in a state of sublime happiness, but you had to be asleep the whole time and dreaming, never to taste reality again, would you take it? How much extra happiness would you agree to if you had to lose a unique talent, like athletic or musical giftedness, or if you had to give up 30 IQ points?

sharath rao: To take an extreme case, would you agree to a lifelong increment in happiness on the condition that you would be transformed into a pig? Would you agree to become happier if it meant that one of your siblings had never been born or one of your children? All these examples, I said, show that happiness is not our only goal, perhaps not even our main goal, in life.
krishnandeepak1: i wud prefer the reality roller coaster
sharath rao: http://happinesspolicy.com/
sharath rao: blog dedicated to economics, policy , happiness etc.

krishnandeepak1: ok

sharath rao: harvard eco. prof.amazing chap ..
krishnandeepak1: ok
krishnandeepak1: one of the blogs u link to?
krishnandeepak1: now lemme see what PWC teaches me..
sharath rao: too late perhaps but read this http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/mankiw/papers/My_Rules_of_Thumb.pdf
krishnandeepak1: too late for what?
sharath rao: "Doing research is not like digging a ditch. A person can dig a
perfectly fine ditch without enjoying his job for a minute."
sharath rao: "Doing research is not like digging a ditch. A person can dig a
perfectly fine ditch without enjoying his job for a minute."
sharath rao: thats for grad students
sharath rao: A book I read long ago revealed to me the secret to a happy life:
find out what you like to do, and then find someone who will payyou to do it.


sharath rao: u shud put on record what u told me abt ur Mtech exp...
krishnandeepak1: i'll do that..

That, my dear friends, is the inspiration behind this entry. Now, in case you are wondering about the mail Sharath sent me, here it is: (does this make me an archiver too?)

Hey fella...

Firstly about IIT-D ...I heard from people about it being really good for PowerSystems and alsocos its the only IIT with a Mtech ( integrated ) for Power System among the options in the JEE. Sothat is kinda their forte...plus I think one of nagrath or kothari is at IITD the other being atBITS...this I guess you already knew.........

About if I know someone there, I dont. But just talked to one chap here ...he is a summer studentfrom IT-BHU and couple of his friends are there. Will pass on their IDs tom, so you can get intouch.......Hope that helps........:-) Besides its very likely that one of Delhi party gang atKREC itself will have their school mates studying there....check that out as well......

About the idea of taking a break Vs joining right away.......

Lets really look at reasons why people go one way or the other.....

*****Some people take up jobs because they have concluded at the end of their BE that they have had enuf of technical stuff and they are not made for technical things. you DONT belong here anyway so forget it....This wont make you go for a job..

*****Some do want to study further, but want to take a break from studies and work for a while,they are fed up not of studies but of the system - of sessionals, exams, projects.....they want toget fresh in the industry and return at some undefined point in time. you DONT belong here anyway so forget it....This wont make you go for a job..

*****Certain others take up a job cos they actually wanted to take up CAT/GATE in final year butdidnt cos they also wanted to have a good time in 7th sem and so dont clear it. you DONT belong here anyway so forget it....This wont make you go for a job..

*****And finally those who take up jobs cause of financial problems, family compulsions, not beingable to find a groom upto their educational qualifications etc. This is a miniscule number and youdont belong here either. :-) This wont make you go for a job..

***** Finally, some get irresistable job offers - generally reputed MNC and well paying. They areunder tremendous pressure from peers, seniors and relatives etc. to take it up and feel foolish tolet go of it. Now since you asked me this question that I am answering, you appear to be slippinginto this category :-) THIS MITE JUST MAKE FOR GO FOR IT. Bear with me if my assessment is off the mark.

Look at reasons why people take up studies :

***** They simply love a certain/ a few subjects and feel they are made for it and want tospecialize here. You do belong here. THIS MITE JUST MAKE FOR GO FOR PG.

*****Certain others take up studies cos they have few well paying job offers and they would ratherbuild their resume and try for job after post-graduation ...typically civil, mining etc. Well youdefinitely dont belong here. So this wont make you go for a PG degree.

***** Or They 'fear' that if they take a break, they may not feel like coming back to studies andso want to finish off with it.

***** Or THey got into one of the top Univs In india or abroad and dont want to let the offer go.So they go study.

So final analysis what do you have left,

** you mite go for a job if :since you have a real good offer. reputed MNC and well paying.

Not too sure its a good choice ...firstly am not too sure you like ERP, Database etc. and secondlyyou dont want to head for Oracle and simply dilute your learning at this stage. and dont worryabout well-paying, post Mtech ( and maybe PhD ) too you will get good offers....

if you want to get into academia i.e . do a phd and get into teaching and consulatancy, youcertainly musnt go to Oracle.

** and since you also arent against MTech and the area in principle, you will really enjoy yourprogram. So you can very much go over.

I am recommending this cos I have known you as a rather academic person and dont burn my head if you have changed over time and I have got all the above fundas wrong. :-D

Finally, even if you have a slightest of doubt that you arent as interested in power systems ( orElectrial Eng. ) as you think and that someday you might want to come over to things like Computer Eng, Information Systems, or ERP or Management etc, take a break ...check out Oracle and give yourself time to be sure.

But for the above situation ( which is perfectly justified if it is true ), I dont see any reasonyou shud back out of IIT-D.

In one sentence : It wont harm to 'try out' Oracle, but it will if you 'try out' IIT-D......

Let better sense prevail.

Cheers,
Sharath

P.S: If you havent already slept off by now, :-), good night !

2 comments:

Karthik Subramani said...

hey deeks, i didnt read a word of this blog hehehe , just wondering how u get the time to write so much!!?

Srivishnu Mohan said...

hey DK,
I read every word of this blog and found as if it was an eye opener for me. Feeling glad I read it, feel like thanking you for putting up so personal a conversation at the end of your stint at IITD.
This might be regarded as a historical post on your blog page.. :-D