Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Glowworm, Innocence and PhD

Last night right after switching off the lights, I saw a glowworm. In the generation where we feel mostly connected with things like i-pods, Tri-bands, IEEE 802.11(Wireless LAN or Wifi) a glowworm may not have much significance. After all a generation later these creatures could only be found in textbook chapters on extinct species.

There was however a time during the monsoon season the post shower evenings were filled with these fascinating creatures that did much more than lighting when the streetlights failed or in places where there were none. They acted as the key to our imagination unlocking a world of fantasy whose explanation may never befit the course description designed to make us work like robots wearing uniform, and where creativity is templatized.

After finishing my master’s degree in information systems, I returned to India from the US. At the time I had only one thing on my mind. Get into a decent PhD program and leave the country where the traffic movements in green lights were not significantly different from the ones in red. I started to apply for Doctoral programs. I started to get offers. Ironically, I kept rejecting them. Over a period, I started to grow used to the city, its people, and miraculously I started to take the pencil and began to sketch after many years. I started to get back my innocence. At the same time, the environment surrounding my job became politicized. Changing the jobs did not really help because all were almost equally bad. I knew that if I am to stay in this city and nourish the long lost sketch and me who can paint I have to not only survive the political environment in corporate life but also have to get proactively involved in the same. Thus, I became compelled to take the next PhD offer. I took the offer because of my passion to investigate the impact of KM systems on ambidexterity and my rage against corporate slavery.

And so I started the long ordeal of traveling millions of miles away from home. Home, the word has so many meanings. It’s a place where one returns form work to find shelter and warmth. I say it’s an abode that maximizes the psychological comfort zones even against the minimal physical luxuries. In fact it’s a place where glowworms come and say “ hello”.

While the glow worm sat in my room it constantly reminded me of the journey in the world of colors on canvas and papers from acrylic, oil and pastels. A journey propelled by engines fueled by innocence. And the suddenly the glowworm flew away. I tried to look outside the room but the streetlights were glowing and its innocent glow was eclipsed. Why did the glowworm come? To bid farewell to my dying innocence that has some breath left but will not survive the thoughtfully crafted thoughtless research that links KM systems and ambidexterity.

I am leaving all that’s close to me in pursuit of a dream. What kind of a dream is that?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have always liked ur sensitivties. Pray to Almighty
that u ll continue thinking about instrinsic issues of
life. But Man , a sensitive man always suffers from
mental torment.

voodoo doll said...

hey its beautiful!..and so true for most of us..

Umaprasad said...

Innocence is good, pursuing studies is better, nurturing the passion of painting / drawing is excellent. Over ages, however, one must attain wisdom, which enables a person to remain unperturbed by the localized and short-term aberrations and provides strength and courage to visualize and act on attaining the society’s need for future.
Your courage to challenge the self-centered dynamics, which compels a person to accept and attain average destiny, by rejecting 9 to 5 financially remunerating work, encourages me to think that you have certain elements, that, if nurtured and enriched, would make you a wise person.
UMAPRASAD DATTA

a big yawn said...

Oscar Wild (or was it O Henry.. whats the matter they are both great people) once said.. and i quote " mistakes are all there ready to be made my friend.. Its just the beginning"

Every cross road.. is a beginning.. as well as an end.. You can look back, at the past and be nostalgic about the things you are living behind.. or you can gather all the experience you have gained from the path.. to make a fresh start in your journey of till you hit the next cross road.
Yes i call it a cross road.. as from here u have many avenues ahead.. avenues that will take you very far from each other.. the onus has been bestowed on you to make the choice.. and wisely chosen you have..i wish you all the very best .. in the cross roads.. ahead.. and Mistakes will be mad .. but use you past experiences.. to over come them
best of luck

CK said...

Beautifully written...

priya said...

hi Avi. what u've written is really beautiful and though-provoking.'Innocence' and 'experience' are according 2 me, two sides of the same picture. William Blake, for example, believed that it is only by traversing the path of experience, suffering, sin, and guilt, that one can attain what is known as HIGHER INNOCENCE - this HIGHER form of innocence is somewhat superior to the literal virtues of innocence that we enjoy as infants. this innocence is a wise sort of innocence that allows d bearer to experience, appreciate, and interpret pedestrian as well as sublime things from a higher perspective. by this time supposedly, the trivial issues of life cease 2 matter and we r left enlightened. the glowworm in ur case may have been indicative of the last vestiges of the innocence we associate with infancy. but a greater wisdom awaits u, and it is only after passing thru this that u can attain your higher innocence. u say ur leaving all thats close 2u in pursuit of a dream. MAY B THATS NOT SO. may b u only THINK that this plc and d ppl matter 2u... who knows, may b they don't... u may emerge wiser in d pursuit of ur dreams... u never know...

Devapriyo said...

Great writing Avi! I hope that you still retain a vestige of your innocence and also that you succeed in your dreams!!! After all, everyone has their dreams; but very few people take the efforts to make them materialize!!!

iHatEtiTo said...

end of the day, when you close your eyes and go to bed, when you talk to yourself about the events of the day, what matters is whether you feel good about the day well spent, or sulk about another day wasted.
we have (and i say we because i believe we have both done this) travelled far and come back a lot of times, bringing back, each time, new experiences, new dreams, a new insight, and added wisdom. i remember when you went away to delhi for the first time. it was such a sad experience for me. one year. and then you came back and life resumed, but was it like it was a year back?
then i left city and you were left behind dilly-dally-ing with fancy college mates and having fun - X got neatly tucked away in the pages of the maroon diary.
and this time it was your turn to cross the ocean. by the time you came back with a wealth of experience and knowledge, it was mine. somehow we have been making journeys to and away from home so many times now that it has always been a good feeling coming back.
the city herself has a charm - and tell me my friend, she has managed to charm you as well - like so many of us who have seen her from far, far away. it is difficult to break the charm, be it of the city or her people. but the glow worm still managed to fly away and get subdued by the hue of the city lights.
whatever you decide, whatever you do, if you believe in it, it is best for you, and whatever is in your best interests will always bring a smile in my face.
until we meet again.

avimanyu said...

Hey Tito, thanks for those words, should I write more I may miss my flight after 5 days. But one thing with friends surrunded coffee tastes sweeter.

Anonymous said...

hi avimanyu,
Reading your aricle made me go back to my school days when "load shedding" was common in Calcutta and we had those jonakis and flickering kerosene lamps for company.
May you find success and happiness in pursuing your dream. And sure enough you will also find the jonaki in your dream, which will take you feel much more connected to Calcutta than any WLAN or Wifi.
-Shiladitya
-ex BGKV

timusinv said...

hey Avi, glowworms are forever....I keep them in my heart....and lots of things that are mundane or stupid to the world...maybe thats why I still find some reasons to survive....

timusinv said...

everything you wrote is very true, but its also true your innocence will withstand the test of all the sh** that governs the corporate world....cheers!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Avi,

As people grow older gradually, the thinking self within one also gets changed & matures. Perhaps!! don't really know. Suddenly, things that used to be very important seems no longer that important. Priorities change, so does the related actions. But I believe, its very important to follow ones passion. If its painting that you are passionate about do that, if its PhD that you really want to pursue do that ...Life is short, make the most of it. Its really important to be happy at the end of the day. So do what you like most. Follow your dreams, be passionate in whatever you are doing & you cant make a mistake then.

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