Few days before a regular reader of inspire n ignite asked me to write something related to negative surroundings all around us and how to deal with it. As soon as I read the message an incident from back PhD days came to my mind. I immediately added it to my “To Write” list but got delayed in completing the post. Today, finally with a coffee and enjoying bright weather I completed it. Here it is for you all.
This was my first week at IIT as a PhD student. Things were totally different than I imagined. Usually we think if IITs as heaven, where you wish something that would come in front of you and you don’t need to wait for anything. I thought, I am exposed to the world class education, excellent teachers and most importantly a great supporting stuff. So happily registered and felt proud to own an id card saying that from now on Zahid is a citizen of heaven (IITian).
It don’t took much time for me to come back to the real life and realize where do it stand. After the registration it took a week to see all PhD students to get their advice about professors and then two more weeks to see all professors and ask for their guidance. After two weeks I was allotted a room where I can sit and start working on the research assignments.
The clrack who assigned me the room also told me that there nothing in the room. They usually give a chair, table, fan and a tube light. For computational work I need to go to lab and work there. I was very happy wow being a student I got an independent room in the department huhu and was happily heading towards the door. The Clark shouted, Zahid babu one room is allotted to two researchers and please contact the other researcher before you go to your research room the room.
I tried to contact the senior PhD student who was my roommate too. I could only meet him after two days, because he was in his lab or hostel room, first time I met him he gave me an appointment after two days and he didn’t talked much. I asked about room he told let’s talk about it when you meet me after two days, I am busy now. But he told me that as everybody does mostly computational work they stay in labs and almost never open the research room in their entire PhD. Therefore, Zahid don’t be in hurry you have lots of time here we can talk about it later. I was totally pissed off with the attitude of this guy, who was famous in department for his typical research attitude. He spent good time in IIT and was supposed to finish his PhD in a year or two. Therefore, I was supposed to respect him and his busyness, which he considered that I didn’t do.
As scheduled I met him after two days and he told me that as rooms are on third floor and most of the researchers work in lab these rooms are left unused for years together. He himself went only once and never went their again. He also permitted me to use the room as if its mine alone. I felt that the key to complete PhD in record time is to use this room. I love working when everyone else is not and no one is around. That room was a perfect gift from god to me. I thought no one goes to that floor and I can sit and concentrate and work toward my goals.
I happily took the key and went up to the third floor. I was really surprised to see no one there, not even a single lab too. Its big building and no human presentence for a long, lots of dust, and pigeons’ droppings there could scare anyone. I dared to open my room and I was not surprised to see its looks. A lot of papers everywhere, tables and chairs were not proper and as the window was not closed and I can feel pigeons made their home and would breed many generations there. Neither light nor fan was working, over all the room and floor was totally scary and unfriendly for research. Now I realized why no one goes there for research work and assignments.
I ran to the ground floor to check the sweeper and electrician. I asked sweeper to clean the room and he denied and told that he have lots of other places to clean and the floor turn comes on next Tuesday and institute electrician told me that he will come on the same day. I waited for a week to get the room cleaned. After a week I approached them, sweeper told me someone died in his family a week before and he cannot work for next one week though he come to office. Therefore, I have to wait for till next month. With anger I went to electrician and he shown dependency on sweeper and told me sahib (sir) let him clean first then I will for sure repair the fixtures. I ran around them for two weeks without any results.
I was on a morning jog and was thinking what is it going on for two weeks? I am just running after two uneducated people and neglecting the research. Then I decided to do something with that. After the jog I took shower and then went to breakfast. After that went to department and checked those two guys and again there was a same statement and no progress with the work. At 11AM I got an idea and I went with that.
I took my bicycle and moved out to city, which is just outside the gate. Looked for a labor (construction ones), as it was 11 AM there were few standing who didn’t get a job on that day. I asked one to clean the room and whole floor, he agreed and I told he him that I will pay the whole day wage even if he finish early. I bought him a broomstick and took him to department. Shown him the place and left him there during lunch time. After lunch and pray went to an electric shop bought a tube light with frame and asked the shop owner if he can arrange for an electrician. He called the electrician and he was ready in 5 minutes. When I reached the department the whole floor was clean and the labor was waiting for me. I paid him and gave Rs 5/- extra and asked him to take the crap with him and dispose somewhere. He was too happy. And after that electrician did his job in an hour and the room and whole floor was ready to be used.
It was sensation in department and every professor was surprised and told why did I do that? when we have personals for that. That was remembered for a long and I think my beloved professor will tell it to many students.
After two years and nine months I printed and submitted my thesis and was very tired and wanted to sit in room where I spend most of my time during IIT days. I started walking on the third floor and looking into memories. I saw many of the rooms where open and most of the PhD students started using their rooms. It was just a great feeling to see how things changed in couple of years.
I just wanted to share with you all the there is a lot to see ahead in life rather than just running around some personal and procedures and get annoyed and stop working. Just open your mind a little and think in a positive direction without harming anyone you feel happy and leave your mark wherever you go. It already became a very big post, and I will stop before you all run after me for taking so much of your time. Have a nice and time and stay positive you will be happy.
Please don’t hesitate to share your stories where you came over negatives in your surrounding and reached your goals and targets. Hope your story will help many others and inspire one too.