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I discovered that the papers that I had written with a lot of hard work were cited only once in the last four years. A note on the academic peril of working hard in writing what will probably be never read by any one. To publish is to perish. Read on.

Publish and perish

Death needs preparation. Preparation, especially for those who will be left behind, and I have started preparing for the death of a close one. She has been my bedside companion for many years, and the holder of my most intimate thoughts. She has been a part of my conversations with friends, my work and my leisure. She is the one I turned to when I woke up, and she put me to sleep for many a year. It looks like she may die soon. When she dies, she will take with her a part of me – naturally. A friend […]

Preparing for the death of a close one

It is often assumed that Teaching Assistants are powerful, vested with institutionalised power to instruct, monitor and evaluate. No doubt, these represent power over the students. But this is nothing compared to the power that students have over the TA; a kind of power that is silent but brutal. When a hundred notebooks close silently, it can bring the mightiest professor to a halt. A few glances at the clock or one row of blank expressions can freeze the vulnerable TA and crush his ego at the same time. There is no experience more humbling that the knowledge that you […]

Reflections of a retiring TA

A Panchayat president I interviewed recently told me sweetly that people listen to her because she’s plump.  Two years and twenty additional kilos earlier, I would have missed the import of the statement, but now I don’t.  Let me give you a quick background before I start. I was very thin and was often called a skeleton, stick of a coconut leaf and other colourful adjectives. I left to the US in 2005 and after two years of Americanisation I got on the weighing machine. I pushed the scales to a familiar position and it remained upright.  I nudged it […]

The importance of a pot belly