Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the line of fire

A spontaneous decision, followed by days of introspection. The smoke had lifted and I was no longer plunging into the abyss. The lure of money, luxury had me on my toes. I had almost made up my mind and sent out a mail on 16-11-09 to my friends stating my decision.
Dear All,
I had an interview at Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune on 12-11-2009. The interview went well, and I got selected. This is a semi government organization and they are into applied R&D. Hence I would be moving over to Pune by first week of December. I am yet to receive their confirmatory mail.
The options available for me if I continue in IIT would be a 3yr MTech prgm in VLSI. I am certain that my patience would run out within that time frame. 3 more years in Mumbai would drive me nuts. Hence I decided to make a career for myself, and then if time permits pursue higher studies after a few years, be it MBA or MTech.
I received their confirmatory mail in the subsequent days, with the date of joining as 01-01-2010. Let me shed more light on the subject. The offer was 10k per month for an year, plus one time incentive of 70k. On completion of an year, the offer would be 60k per month. A spicy offer for a BTech graduate with little or no experience in the industry. I was lured. I had decided to forfeit my fellowship and leave IIT forever.

The fellowship at IIT is more of a studentship, with no classes and exams. You get to design and perform your own experiments, and report the result to your Professor. I was thoroughly enjoying my job, every minute of it. Failures and successes were part of it. Every result was a lesson learned for another set of experiments. It was during that period when a string of failures as well as some personal setbacks made me frustrated. I felt I needed a change and the call letter for interview came in. A real blessing and I decided to take leave for a day and attend the interview. I took the train to Pune, and found my way to this place on top of a hill. An exotic location for a research institution, I thought. The interview went well, and the panelists queried about my patent at Siemens, and the look of content on their face said it all. I returned to Mumbai the very same evening, with a sense of satisfaction. I resumed my experiments from the very next day onwards.

As days progressed, I was becoming more and more apprehensive about my decision. The inner voice sounded skeptical about my decision. Two mighty forces were at loggerheads, the free mind and the rational mind. The battle went on for a few days, and a resolution was no where in sight. I would say odds favored the 'free mind' .I was uncertain. I rang my parents and explained my precarious situation. The very same evening they expressed their opinion. They wanted me to pursue higher studies and hence continue at IIT. The battle had come to an abrupt halt, and a sense of victory prevailed in me. I am victorious, I felt and now, I had n-number of reasons to convince my rational mind. A few of them being,
  • It is not very often one gets a chance to pursue higher studies at IIT. It is a privilege.
  • If Mumbai could drive me nuts, why can't Pune? Would I opt for change then?
  • I have no plans of settling in Pune, and I plan to return to Kerala after studies. My parents are all alone at home, and either me or my bro got to be there at hometown. My bro's job doesn't give him that luxury.Teaching is a profession I would thoroughly enjoy. I went to the s/w field not out of choice but by chance.
  • Knowledge is power.How much money do you need to live?
  • I thoroughly enjoy my work here. It would be treachery leaving my work and leaving.
The frivolousness of my decision to leave IIT dawned on me. The clouds had blown over, and there was sunshine. I have made up my mind, and there is more clarity on what I want in life. There is no more conflict, and the road ahead though arduous, is clear.

Dear Reader ,if philosophy bores you, please skip the next para:

As I see, every tidbits in life has some meaning associated with it. The message may not be clear, but once you decipher the puzzle, everything makes sense to you. The world would be a wonderful place to live, if we start listening to our inner voice. Often, it is the logical mind that emerges victorious. The mind which talks about numbers, dollars, luxuries, chicks, booze etc. Eventually, it boils down to personal preferences. The crux being, never do anything against your inner voice. Remorse would set in at a later stage, and then you shuttle across centers that promise, 'peace of mind', a flourishing business these days.