This post is written as part of WOW prompt of blogadda. Prompt advices to describe title and chapters of the book of a persons life. This is my story.
Title : Title of my book will be Confusion of an Intuitive Mind. From childhood days I have been very intuitive. I could many a time predict outcome of important events of my life. My latent intuitive ability posed two problems. First problem was to filter out true positive signal from the false positive one. Second problem was once I had feel for the outcome, be it good or bad, I would stop trying. I had a fear if I am proven wrong, then I may lose a very dear friend. To be fair, my ability to predict an outcome has been proven wrong many a times and it has come good a few times.
Chapter 1 : Childhood After dealing with the title, next comes what should be included in chapters. My first chapter will be Childhood. Growing up in Balasore in Orissa and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, I had exposure to two different cultures. Growing up I have seen and felt that my mother was more dominant and she decided many things. My father used to be a quiet human being. He never argued much. Only time I remember to have seen him assert was when he declined a transfer from Kanpur to Pune. From his sources, he had come to know in those days it was difficult to get a house in rent in Pune and one had to pay some money in advance. My father always avoided trouble and difficult situations, opted for a posting from HAL in Kanpur to OFC in Kanpur. I remember him bicycling almost 20 KM or more from Chakeri to Armapur for close to a year. But that was my father. He would work hard but not open his mouth to negotiate. I remember mother was very angry she had visualized travelling through many tunnels enroute to Pune. She was crestfallen at my fathers decision.
Chapter 2 : Boarding School My second chapter has to be my time in boarding school. I had spent five years from class six to class eleven at a boarding school in West Bengal. I was sent there because my parents thought I was forgetting mother tongue, that is Bengali. Looking at my kids, I think the decision was a good one. After the decision was made, I was asked if I would like to go to a boarding school. I do not know what would have happened if I had declined. But I said yes, because I knew I was going to flunk maths test. This was no intuition, but pure fact based on calculation. My mother was also teaching in the same school. I knew once the result came out, there would be a massive problem at home with a great possibility of getting a spanking. So I immediately agreed. I would travel by train going to boarding school and back. That would mean at least six trips a year. That was an added attraction.
At ninth standard in school, somehow it got into my brain that I was not among better students in class. I was not going to score well in board examination. So why study. I ended up graduating with a second division. I had many comedy of errors during my last three years all the way upto writing higher secondary examination. This time, my intuition came good, but as an individual I failed. I had a great chance of doing much better. May be these are all predetermined.
Chapter 3 : University Days University Days. For my college education, I returned to my parents. Who were now moved to Delhi. There was no synchrony between different boards in those days. By the time, West Bengal Board came out with their results, admissions in many colleges in Delhi Uni was over. Fortunately I got into a course due to 20% increase in seat in technical education. This was one of my lucky breaks. Unsmart, uncommunicative, I got into the course and completed Diploma, Degree and Post Graduation from the same college. I had the degree but as a street smart individual I was way behind.
One important milestone during my college days was coming in contact with Rama Krishna Movement. I learnt many things about deeper purpose of life. Question was how to implement the teachings. At some levels I was too idealistic my influence of education in West Bengal and exposure to Mission, but I embraced practicality that society in Delhi showed me. I was confused by practicality but embraced it, I was enamored by idealism but I lacked conviction to embrace them.
Chapter 4 : Study Abroad Fourth Chapter in my book of life will be time spent abroad. This time my intuition came true. I had applied to only one university. I had a clear vision that I shall get in. I don’t know how, but I had a clarity of conviction. I did not have a passport. Those days getting a passport used to be a Herculean task without paying a bribe. I got my passport at the last moment, when someone from external affairs ministry vouched for me (courtesy Rama Krishna Mission). I was working as a junior faculty in a reputed university. They were unwilling to let me go, not because I was the best but university of short in staff. One of the condition of getting a visa was a no objection certificate from present employer. That also came through. I spent ten years abroad completing my second Masters, Doctorate and Post Doctoral Training.
Chapter 5 : Employment Fifth Chapter would be employment. While doing post doctoral training, I had written to many organisations. My plan was to get a job in India, because of my exposure to ideology of Rama Krishna Mission, I wanted to come back. I could not get into academic institutions, but got a job in an industry. Industry was doing basic research in the area of biology and needed people who have studied and worked abroad. I spent nearly eighteen years in the company, before organization shut its shop. I learnt a lot from industry. Learning which I would have never have got from academia. A most important learning is getting an idea of total process from bench to bedside, and all the associated technicalities and complexities. How to find a business application from scientific idea, how to convert a hit into a lead, and how to optimize a lead into a product for scaling up. How to manage people, how to set goals, and how to manage timelines. Planning a budget anticipating the year in advance, prioritise projects to fit the budget are learning in money management. Communication is a big learning from industry. Overall, how to work proactively without being reactive, how to deal with people without being offensive are many lessons of life that we do not learn in academia.