Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The age is adding up

It was a wonderful late-evening. The signs of an impending rain were visible. The wind had come to a standstill. The drop in temperature was being felt by the body,which, sitting on a cycle, was riding back towards the hostel. Not because of the hunch of rain, but because some books were left back in the room and also hunger was not allowing any concentration.

While gliding my way back, down the slop after main-building (the boys call it the H-11 slope), I saw a couple of UG-freshies enjoying their first few days of IITB. A rough calculation told me that they were born anywhere between 1989 and 1991. They were younger than me by almost a decade!! This translates to almost two generations below me. I remember, in the 1990s (when I was entering my teens), my generation used to be called Generation-X (Gen-X). Some cycle company had come out with a cycle named "Generation-X". This means that the Gen-Z has entered IIT, while Gen-X seems to be still loitering around, sticking to the student tag. I try most of the times to avail the "student discount", when many of my peers have become parents.

Coming back to my cycle ride, I started thinking of what have I achieved in all the years that I have existed on the planet. It happens to me a lot of times, especially when I see kids come off their age. They are eager to don the mantle that I have been used to for such a long time. What have I done to move on to the next mantle? Look back in time, my mind says. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had already won a few battles by the time he was 26. He had a kingdom and commanded the respect of various local "vatandars". He was a thorn in the eye of Bijapur, by that time, and killed Afzal Khan at Pratapgad when he was around 28 years old. I try and think of my acts of bravery. None emerge!! Sad to say that, but it is a fact. The only killing that I have ever done is mosquitoes!

In the meanwhile, my ride nears its end, as I reach the hostel. I dismount the cycle and walk back to my room, still thinking. Thinking that only a year and half ago, I was amongst the crowd that was targeted by marketers to sell their product. Now, I am slowly drifting into the crowd which is not on the centre of the marketing radar, because this crowd has the money, but doesn't splurge. But, did I enjoy being under 25? No, because I was a student most of the time, and hence no money to splurge. Do I enjoy being on the plus side? Not much, because I am still a student, so no money accumulated. The pitfalls of doing a Ph.D., my mind says. I accept. If I intended to earn money and splurge it, I wouldn't have joined a Ph.D. I wanted to earn enough knowledge and splurge it. I would never be the target of any marketing company. I spend only if it is possible and essential for me to do it.

Suddenly, my eyes veer towards the calender. Annual Progress Seminar to be held in the 2nd week of August. Less than 20 days left!! All thoughts go off the mind abruptly. And I chalk out my tasks for the next day. Have to get some results to show the progress. Otherwise, the "student" tag may stretch for a bit more longer time.
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  1. This is a fantastic article...very real and poignant. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly...very good one...and reality is reflected in a light humorous note...great job :)

  2. nice writing.....u have beautifully wrote ab the Phd people...

    I also sometimes have similar kind of thoughts...

  3. Being a PhD scholar myself I can understand your predicament but then I see it this way: being in the campus with the undergrads, one still feels young in spirit and a lofty sense of been-there-done-that definitely rises our self esteem. Also there are no kingdoms these days so don't worry about Shivaji and his achievements.
    You have taken the path less chosen and that makes all the difference.
    Good Luck for everything!

  4. @the adamant soul
    Thanks for your comments!!

    Shivaji is a metaphor. He achieved a lot of things at a very young age. That is because he realised the problem of his day and got down to solve them quickly!! Me, neither a Ph.D. right now, nor working! Just stuck somewhere in between!