Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The 26th June

The biggest surprise of the day came from the students in the lab. This was one such day when Her Highness makes sure that she stays ahead of others by wishing when clock strikes 00.00 hrs. Phone calls start coming early in the morning and continues throughout the day. And emails. Feel great to find a childhood pal remembering the day and making a phone call after long, long time. Apologetic call today for missing it yesterday. Assured that today is the day according to Bengali almanac and thus it was very much on time.

This time 26th June coincided with Bipattarini (a form of goddess Kali or Chandi) Puja and Rathayatra  week. Ma (Mother) was ready by 8:30 AM. Together went to local Shiva-Kali temple (Prof. G. S. Sanyal was very much involved with this temple's development in his final years). I was happy to find Ma in smile, "Khub bhalo pujo hoyechhe.(Puja was great.)"  Often, due to rush or otherwise short-cuts are adopted which leaves old timers like Ma unhappy. The other reason perhaps was her contribution in making a lotus bloom. The same was placed on the sacred pitcher in front of the deity. Me, all the while, was busy in attending phone calls, talking to a colleague who was associated with NSS and of course offering silent prayer.

An interview of me was scheduled at 11 AM in my office. Luckily it was not a test of my ability and pass a judgement on me (Hope so :-)). I saw my worth three days back sitting beside another IIT faculty at the other side of the table. I was astonished to experience breadth and depth of his knowledge. Long, long way to go to be considered remotely as wise. The correspondents wanted to feature few IIT faculty members in some article and I was picked up as one for being engaged in certain activities which touch common cord. Earlier I was interviewed by correspondents of national and international media but that used to be focused on certain specific research work. This one was more of 360 degree stuff and to be published in something which is very, very special and dear to all KGPians. Thus, I was little nervous to begin with. The correspondents were very professional to make me comfortable in no time. It was more of a friendly conversation where they were taking notes in between.

The lab. students did not know about this scheduled interview. At 11:30 AM, one of them took the cordless phone from my office. That was not unusual as they often take that for testing our voice signature based applications. At 12 noon, he comes and requests me to go to the lab. for a demonstration. I requested him to go ahead with rest of the lab mates as I was not done with the interview. At 12:30 there was another lab student knocking at the door. He is instrumental behind our virtual lab. related developments. He requests me to visit the lab. and check a new DSP experiment he has just finished on virtual platform. I was naive not to suspect anything at this point too. Requested him to wait a while as I was almost done with the conversation with the correspondents.

And then I entered the lab. Lo! what did the students do? I am no longer a child! But you do not actually complain to succumb to such wishes of students. There was nothing missed. Cake, candle, "Happy birthday" song and I was more overwhelmed than embarrassed. In my "Thank You" card I requested them to wish so that I become worthy of this love and respect. I narrated this to my 9 year old daughter while bringing her back from school. She was disappointed to miss the fun as she never saw his father doing some such thing like cutting a cake after blowing candles on birthday.

Back home there were rituals like taking payasam and other socio-religious activities associated with such a day. Of course, the lunch was special. Spent last THU-SUN in Bhubaneshwas for some official work. Could not take family to Rathayatra fair in the weekend. At 6 PM, we set off for the fair ground near Jagannath temple at KGP town. Enjoyed the fair very much and was ready for dinner by 10 PM.

Oh yes! Did not miss the work out for the day and am doing fine on that count. The other day one colleague wondered if I am visiting Gym. That I could shed 6.5 KG in 3 months just by free hand exercise broadened the grin! On another occasion I was walking along the corridor of a different Dept. when a senior faculty (who was our teacher too in a Basic Science subject) stopped me. Affectionately he took me to his room and showed one of my blog post on his computer screen. He appreciated the write-up and told that after retirement he would start writing his ideas. I thanked him and requested him to preserve the points in the form of bullets somewhere which can be expanded later. I heard that the author of 'Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna' (Link) used to keep notes in bullet form. Later he used to meditate on them to arrive at the full form. How much we are indebted to the author, Sri Mahendra Nath Gupta to bring Sri Ramakrishna live before us!

The correspondent asked in the interview how I pursue many different interests. I unhesitatingly told them, whether it is research or NSS, it is the team who deserve the kudos. For research, full credit to research students. I just try to make them see the opportunities and ask simple, obvious questions on result and justification given. I am proud to say that each of our research students who complete tenure in our lab. can do research independently anywhere in the world. The same goes for NSS activities. The field work in a particular village is done by one faculty colleague and his student team. I just lend a support and discuss opportunities to serve, the big picture and how our smallest contributions too get counted. It is all their hard work and they are the ones.

Let me end this post with some not-so-serious pictures of recent Bhubaneshwar visit. The work assigned in these 3 days stay was tedious, starting 9:30 AM every morning and there was no fixed time to end. One day we (myself and driver Tanmay) decided that 'enough is enough'. We started early in the morning and went around the city, visited famous Lingaraj Temple, Khandagiri caves. Few glimpses of this visit appear below. Camera was not allowed inside Lingaraj temple.

Added on 28th June : This evening got a sweet message from a junior which in Bengali is "bhawanipurer bari te j gaanta bijoydar sathe gaye tomar janmo din er subhechha janano hoy ni shei gaanta gaichhi.."TUM BAY SAHARA HO TO KISI KA SAHARA BANO.." SUBHA JANMO DIN ." He is in Railway service now posted at Southern India. He is remembering the function we used to have on this day at our Bhowanipur residence ... about 20 years back  and the song he wished to sing but could not ... today while wishing he remembers the same. Thanks Dipjyoti. Jaane kahan gaye woh din.... It used to be informal song, recitation, adda. At times, we used to have play. Just an opportunity to have a get together and lots of fun.


Rohan Bhatore said...

Wish you a belated Happy Birthday sir! :)
Nice to know you had a great birthday.

Goutam Saha said...

Thanks Rohan! Yes, had lot of fun... as if the clock was turning backward.