Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Matter of Luck

How I got the intern!!

Most of you know how I got my intern and how luck played a vital role in it. Now I am going to explain how exactly that luck helped me get the trip of my dreams.

During the third sem of my college, out of nowhere(by luck of course), it occurred to me that there is a possibility of doing a project in IIT during the short winter break in December. And was it my good luck or a bit of overemphasised eagerness, that convinced Prof Joby Joseph to allow me to do project under his guidance, the same prof who’s busy with some research having a budget of 40 lakhs or something. Anyway that is immaterial. I happened to be fairly regular to the lab, and a lot liberal when it came to the time spend in lab (more off it!!)
Now, I would only call it by ‘luck’(and because my Prof mentioned it and invited me)that I chanced upon this stupid conference that was being held in Delhi by IITD. A bit curious and lucky again to get the conference passes arranged for free(worth 60USD by the way), I was apprehensive whether to go to the conference or not. After all getting up as early as 6am to reach the venue by 8am, travelling 20 km from my home in chilly December morning was nothing short of a heroic. But eh.... maybe my luck was too good, I somehow gathered enough courage to get out of my cosy bed and reach the conference before time. That was when I came to know what the conference really was about.

It was an international conference, biannually held in India by the name of PHOTONICS. As you might have got some idea by the name, the conference was a platform for many nerdy researchers from around the world to pour in their research papers in photonics(a branch of Optics, physics, Science), and for eminent personalities to come for free and listen or look at the new world shit presented all around. I learnt from 3 of my friends there that we were supposed to manage a stall put up by SPIE (was put up by us actually for we were a part of SPIE...... how I became a part of SPIE is another luck story), the same organisation that funded our conference visit. Well, the venue for the conference was Indian Habitat Centre. Oh, don’t you start smacking your lips and licking your fingers, I know this is the place where you get the best food in the world. I can talk on and on about it, but I think it would be off the topic at present (many of my dear friends would thank me for this). So here we are, standing behind the stall that says SPIE USA, surrounded by all sort of delicious food, stalls of all kinds of Optics companies and organisation and the lecture halls where we would sometimes go to catch up on our sleep. In addition to it, there were people; people from around the world; students, research scholars and renowned Professors from around the world.

Quite remarkably luck being a factor again, One old white bearded, white haired guy just came up to our stall and started enquiring about this organisation SPIE. Very patiently, my senior colleague explained that the organisation was actually a group of Optical Engineers active in research and development in this field. As per the instructions of the SPIE commanders, we had put up a box on the counter to collect the visiting card of every visiting person. In the end of the conference, we had it planned to draw a lot and the lucky person would get some kind of free subscription to some boring strings of paper. Therefore, we asked this old guy to pop his card into the same box, explaining him its very purposes. After looking for it in all his pockets (and there were many many), he finally drew out his visiting card holder with the joy of a child who just found his favourite toy and handed a card to us.

Prof. Brian Culshaw
Past President, SPIE
Univerity of Strathclyde, Glasgow

The awestruck look on our face was broken by the cracking laughter of the Prof, mellowing down the formal mood a bit. After some candid chat about IITD and India in general, he moved on to other stalls leaving the card with poor us. Well call it another lucky accident that at the end of the conference, this kind senior of mine, Utkarsh, handed me the visiting card(he thought it would be helpful to me, I wondered how!)

Now let me tell you about part directly concerning my application and invitation for the intern. Like everybody else in my batch, I decided to apply for intern to good universities abroad in hope of getting a paid trip to some exotic place. Out of the numerous applications that I sent around the world (just kidding. there were few), I sent a mail to this Funny guy Prof. Culshaw(ah, I found some use to the card). No response for weeks, and the matter was gone and forgotten.

Just when I had begun to convince myself that I’d be better off staying at home than in some stupid alien place abroad, this Prof replies to the mail. He says,” We would like to know bit about you, why don’t you send in names of two character referees on your behalf for our satisfaction.” A very positive and promising reply for sure!!! And I don’t know how it happened, maybe the goddess of luck was too favourable on me, I ws able to get a letter of Recommendation from the dean of students himself!! Maybe he knew me because I was there at the conference assisting in the setup organised mainly by his efforts, maybe he just remembered me as the guy who came in pleading for a hostel room during the 'voluntary' winter project, or maybe he only remembered me as the guy who used to sit there on the first bench in Optics class(used to come in late though) and ask pestering questions!! I would attribute it all to luck!!

Again, if it wasn’t for luck, then how would have I managed to get a good reputation in the eyes of my HOD, who happened to be close pal of Prof. Culshaw. I don’t remember anything except going to him like 5-6 times begging for some odd research papers by his group for strictly non-academic purpose. A lucky bit of help there and a handy reco from Prof Joby(the guy who took me for winter project) and whoa..... this Culshaw guy was all excited. He sent me a letter right away inviting me for the intern, paying me 2500GBP for the stay!!!! It was much more than what any of my friends were getting for their intern. I was overjoyed and thanked God a zillion times for this, but lo! God said there’s still more to come.

Maybe after a word with my HOD or the Dean, or as I’d prefer to say dumb luck, my dear Prof Culshaw grew more and more enthusiastic about having an idiot like me to be a part of his research group(Which I guessed was filled with bigger idiots than me, a fact that I later learned was not true). A few days later, in a reply following the invitation letter, Prof Culshaw decided to increase my total funding to 3000GBP!!!!!!! What to say!!!...... Luck Luck, oh my good luck, I hope I never run out of it!!! Not only was this sum far more than what everybody else was getting, it was enough to pay for an extravangant stay in UK. Even after that I’d save a LOT!!!

Well that's pretty much how I got my intern. A smile from the Goddess of Luck and a bit of help here and there. All I can say is ‘Thank you God’

Now about 10 weeks after I set off for UK, I can say that I’ve finally completed my intern, the proof of which lies here. As you read this, I’d probably be on my way back home or there already, with a bunch of lifetime experiences and a pot full of fond memories. This is the signing off post by me from UK. For those curious to have a closer look at the stud, Prof. Brian Culshaw, click here.(For those who don't have an orkut profile - Get one!!)


dEVaNsh......in2 d dEPthS f dEsTinY... said...

impressive...quite a story...but all dat wsnt just LUCK... :)

dope said...

Seriously ...... it wasnt just luck pisssu .... u ran thrgh the confrnce and offices of HOD n Dean ......thts hectic hard work in itself :P

Rajiv said...

I would rather say you are honest and sincere towards your work. Change your way of looking at things then nothing can stop you.

Rohan said...

I don't think it's all luck. It's just something you did not have in mind when you did all those things which 'co-incidentally' helped you in getting the intern....

We're not used to surprises I believe b'cos we are always expecting something from everything we do....

Sometimes God has a better plan for us.

yshfn said...

word 'luck' toh bas bahana hai, motu ko praises jo paana hai!!

hmm..on a serious note..luck surely played a role but yet its your work which matters after all..that certificate of urs says it all.hope more such "lucky" things happen to u ahead.