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Looking back, looking ahead!

Looking back, looking ahead!

And that was the longest and most beautiful night of 2015 when I managed to host my three special friends from my Ph.D days at my studio apartment and we talked and talked...
Ph.D life, research, science as a career, Ph.D supervisors and the love hate relationship we share with them, labmates, roommates, hostel mess, hostel nights.

..family, friends, small town girls, big dreams, post doc. and post –post doc., experiments, no result, authorships..
...annoying neighbours who keep on asking when is your Ph.D finishing, what next and when are you getting married, babies? (we ALL still hate them for these innocent questions),
.... the gracious first grey hair, faith in God or no God, some adventures, common fears, lows and highs of life, learning making round rotis, baby-sitting,

....love, unlove, matrimony sites, truth or dare, long drives, one and a half-long island ice tea,
....idiots, jerks, boyfriends, husbands, mama's boy, men with moustaches ...blah blah blah!
...and what (and why!) not because all three of them had an incredible and inspiring story to share.

Meera: Spontaneous is now her first name, with a clean and beautiful heart she is no more a shy person. She belongs to a small town and strongly believes in unlocking her potential as much as she can, she discovers herself while she travels the world, but then why, and how difficult it was for her to cage her free spirit which was now spreading like wild fire. Her life decisions are largely heart driven but then for the longest time in her life she was morally obliged to not find her love on her own.
Obliviously, then why was she so infatuated with this man who was maintaining some kind of golden silence that was less difficult but more painful to comprehend? Apparently, he seemed gentleman in many ways, but probably the man had a stone heart or some sad past experience or he just lacked those nerves to convey a convincing refusal. While she was picking herself piece by piece after this ungraceful rejection what was she still hopeful and proud of? Meera was smart enough to understand his silent indication but then why was she still so hell-bent, ignoring her self-esteem, many a times to persuade this man to at least meet once! How through voicing her emotions to this never heard, never seen man she finds her lost but first pulse for romance, and how eventually her stone hearted man melts soon after Cupid interveins and he marries Meera.
Mrinalini: She is energetic, bold and smart and aims for a king size life and works very hard towards that. She comes from a metro city and wants to experience every possible thing in this world. Her restless brain is her only problem but also the solution to many other tiny snags in her life. She aims to be filthy rich and own an island one fine day! She is a voracious reader, a passionate lover, a good friend and an effective communicator.

Looking back, looking ahead!-1

She was most talkative of all three but then why was she so quiet today? Her life was perfect and she was close to achieving her dream but then something happened that turned her world upside down. What did she encounter and why her will power must win? Witnessing this situation of hers, while a tear rolled down my cheek, I did not see even a single frown on her face as she was still in her best jolly moods while she explains her challenge. Hats off to her attitude towards life and the way for every new sunrise she plans something different to paint her day brighter than the previous one.

Anamika: She is self-centric, ambitious and very intelligent. She is a hard core feminist, who wants to win every race where men exist. She is an established scientist researching and understanding cancer biology, but then, one horrible day she herself was diagnosed with her research subject itself. Her strong determination and intractable faith gave her a smooth ride throughout, and how she finally sees the light at the dead end of this dark tunnel. As today her little daughter recalls, “mommy had to lose all her hair to meet Uncle God”. I guess the innocent one must be true as Anamika originally comes from a small village where more than cancer dealing with the social stigma associated with it would have no doubt proved poisonous and frustrating. Our cursed society must have had tried its best intoxicating her head more than cancer could do to her ovary, absolutely only Uncle God could have helped her sail through this rough tide.

My writings of 2015 in the form of short stories and poems reflect the glimpses of Meera, Mrinalini, Anamika and sometimes Uncle God..... “Thirties: The Most Comfortable Shoes To Be In”, “Electrons, Protons, Neutrons and - THE Morons”, “A remote ingredient spicing the new emerging India”, “The Owner of Her Dream”, "As You Wish- Lessons we learn from unanswered prayers”, “The Loud Silence”, “The Old Monk and The New Girl”, “Women in Science: The Distracting Damsel in the White Coat”, “Let you and me, ROCK”, "Yes, I do", “Infatuated – Rebecca”, "A Lonely Art”, “The Hall Full of Mirrors”, “Thoughtless thoughts”, “This Heavenly Pour”, “Her shadow in the dark night”, “Who Is She?!”, “From Pimples to Wrinkles, before you GET LOST”
As the little one prepares herself to leave the house, she hugs me tightly and gave me a bouquet of flowers and whispers softly in my ear, “I know when you were of my age you used to believe that Goldfish is made up of Gold”!

We all burst into a loud laughter and that was the moment when I was captured by this thought that how I must share their experiences with you all in detail along with the joy I felt seeing them win their life situations, making their lives no less than gold.
Meera, Mrinalini and Anamika have left for the airport, promised to meet up again sometime next year. Now my little apartment looks empty but I feel so filled, so enthused and stimulated with their inspiring experiences and how elegantly they have dealt with them.

Though, I did choose enough pretty words to express my gratitude to these fantastic ladies for sharing their personal experiences, confiding in me and constantly motivating to pen down all these posts throughout the year 2015.

But, before 2016 dawns upon all of us, I also want to THANK YOU for being part of my 2015, and being kind to leave those valuable comments or sending those nice personal messages. Today, when I look back they are encouraging enough for me to look ahead and attempt answering my new inner calling!

Yes, the idea of writing a book (as an amateur writer) has started brewing inside me (shhh...) for which I need your good wishes.

In addition to the inspiring stories of Meera, Mrinalini, Anamika and Uncle God, through this book let me also try to address the various ups and downs, challenges we face in India while we choose research as a career, how we girls/ boys leave small towns to fit nicely into the bigger picture of big towns, cities, counties, what we carry along while we travel this journey and what had already left us when we look back.

For very few, Ph.D in science is just a degree, for most of us it’s an experience which prepares for the tough life ahead. While it teaches patience, determination, will power but at the same time it steals some precious young years from your life.

I promise you will be able to relate to this book in one way or the other, if not directly you, your Ph.D friend would be there!

So, put on your thinking hats, suggest a title and block your copy of the book (would be FREE, simply because it’s your/friends PhD or post Ph.D life which I am just attempting to write)
Thanks once again,
Keep rocking and have a wonderful year ahead!
Best wishes


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Dr Monika Sharma
PhD, Science Administration
Research Councils UK,
British High Commission


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