A Lifetime of Hell

I had decided to write this post 4 years ago.

Because that was when I stepped into IIM Lucknow as a PhD student for the first time. And I knew I have to write about it when I complete 4 years on 16th June, 2018. And here we are today!

What a wonderful 4 years it has been. So much so that I have been making drafts of this post in my head for 10 days now. That’s what I do now – make drafts. Because, PhD. Which reminds me – 4 years of Hell. And what a beautiful, stunning hell to be honest! I have lived as much in these 4 years, if not more, as I had lived in the 24 years before coming here. Yet, it feels like I haven’t lived at all.

It’s a long time and PhD is a long journey for anyone to think about who they are and what they want with life. A lot of people believe that PhD is a lonely journey and it is. But it also is a time that if managed well will bring you closer to yourself. In the last few years, I have met some brilliant people, some not so brilliant people; re-discovered the meaning of friendships, learned to let go of things and people, realized that I cannot chase anyone in my life (except maybe a few friends), understood that one cannot stop living while one anticipates about ‘what next’… and much more.

It might look like I did everything except my PhD work! But I am about to finish so I also did learn – deadlines are okay in life :)

From surprise birthdays to not-so-surprising birthdays, dinner and dance parties to terrace nights, movie marathons to Varanasi trips – it’s been one lifetime of beautiful Hell. The winters of Hell are typically akin to the phrase – ‘Hell freezing over’. But as Albert Camus says, “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer” -

The one thing that I am most thankful to this place for is that it gave me an opportunity to devote quality time for learning meditation and Kriya Yoga. It has been life changing, life affirming, ground breaking, and much more. I do not have enough words to phrase together what it means to have found this path in life. It’s like an invisible insulation, a talisman that I carry within myself. I could talk for hours about this, but that’s for another day.

As I reach the penultimate few months in these ‘hallowed portals’, I can’t wait to write the acknowledgement of my thesis. I have kept it for last; as a symbol of wrapping up the big adventure I undertook 4 years ago. All set for beginning new chapters, ready to fall, get up, and laugh (though probably not immediately), to soar (not much of a roarer anyway), and to see what’s in store next.

And if you ever want to do a PhD, don’t hesitate. You will probably have the time of your life. Or, a great story to tell :)

4 years! PHEW !!!

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