Sivakumar M.Srinivasan





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STORY 1: Searching for ghee when butter is at hand

(a reflection)

The above shows the no. of papers I have published in the peer reviewed journals the past 25yrs.


I remember the early years of my career at IIT Madras. Difficult days to recount. There were very few of my age in the department and almost every faculty was a good 15 years older than me.  I kept feeling some uneasiness in the air. This feeling kept growing by the day to the extent that I thought the other faculty members in the department were constantly scheming against me. There were many moments that pushed me into thinking of quitting the place.

The isolation meant that my focus grew on the negativity around me.  This feeling kept pulling me down and I wasted all the time lingering in negativity.  Obviously, the result showed in my performance.

With almost 7 years wasted away and gone by sulking, whining and fighting through thoughts, behavior and action, one day I woke up to the reality of my abysmal performance, thanks one of my mentors who was kind enough to subtly point it out to me! 

I decided to stop looking back and took steps towards a wonderful world that I am in. Ever since, I have been enjoying every moment that I spend with this campus.  A shift that I would never forget in my life. 

The moment that shift happened, everything seemed to fall in place.  Whether it is getting students to join me in my work or publishing or taking up new problems or creating newer things and way - everything excited me!  If number of papers were a measure of such a shift, looking at the graph above you can easily guess when that shift occurred.

Today, I see a lot of my young colleagues going through a similar rut and I feel helpless. A lot of emotional energy is lost. I am not for unwarranted advice.  In only hope this story of mine helps them realize that they are searching for ghee when butter is at hand!