When a Ph.D. girl falls in Love <3

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First love is always special, and so it was for me. I still remember I had so many mixed feelings… I was nervous, confused, happy, depressed, tensed, and a lot more that I even didn’t know… Everything around was looking so restless. I couldn’t even do any single thing that day; maybe I could call him It was so hard to manage that confused mixture of emotions floating inside me. Everything was looking so different…

Any other girl, of course not me, would have expressed those feelings, would have told him that yes, all these are just for you, would have cherished the first feeling of love, and maybe I should have done that. But you know, I am a researcher, a person who is always interested in knowing why this is happening, what is the reason, and has thousands of questions about any small thing. And I did the same with love too… I just ended up thinking about how this happened to me; why really why? How can I like someone, what were the traits? How does he know about everything even I never said.

How I can be so irrational that I just fell in love with someone even without considering all the parameters, by the way, what are the parameters, what should I consider, and then again a long list of questions, never-ending… Thousands of questions were in my mind, and I just wanted an answer for all of them. My Ph.D. instincts overcame my love somehow. Days kept passing, and I was still thinking of their answers.

Being in love for the first time in my life, I was also very curious to call him and tell him everything, express those beautiful feelings to him. Finally, I called but nothing this happened, I just ended up asking him all the questions I had and even more. I wanted to know the limits of our love. I still don’t know if I was more interested in knowing that really am I in love or how am I in love, and I think it was more about the second one. I just spent around a month exploring for those answers, and then one day, I just realized…

I am a girl, a human, and it is pretty normal to fall in love at this young age, and I should enjoy these moments rather than analyzing them with so many WHY, HOW and WHAT… I realized love doesn’t go through the checklist that we prepare for the years before that right moment comes.

It’s been four months, and I am still trying to be a girl and a lover than a researcher in my love story 😛 . Still, sometimes we just sit and analyze how things happened, how we made a choice, how we really opted for it, what was the probability, what were the odds, and so many things. But yes, now I understand that few things just happen beyond math and science; they are just meant to be happened in your life to make it much more beautiful. 🙂

Disclaimer: Just think before falling in love with a researcher 😉 though you can’t help 😛 😀

Letter to my Intern… Hey Girl…

Hey Cutiee Girl,

I am writing this to share my pleasure in working with you. This was really a very nice experience.  It was a great pleasure to answer all your queries whether related to research or career guidance. I always mentored you and tried to help you understand all the different perspectives of life. You are such an amazing, hard-working, self-motivated girl. I know I couldn’t give you much time as I was busy with other projects, still, I tried my best to help you learn a lot and gather the skills for building a nice project. Your internship is ending now but our relationship will not end here.

I know being an ambitious girl from a small place, you would have faced many problems in your life and I know you have handled them bravely. If I say: I wish you have a smooth life further and achieve your dreams, I know I will be lying to you and also to myself. Because I know being a girl you will have to struggle hard to take every single step towards your dream. But I can surely say, I will always be there for you whatever is the time or condition. I will help you to find a smooth solution for the zigzag-like hard problems coming your way. Someone once said to me: “I am a keyboard away, so always feel free to ping me” and that day I really felt the world is small, at least all the people I care and I need are close to me. Today I am saying to you that I will always be just a keyboard away. Feel free to share everything with me, your successes, your failures, your dreams, your goals, and even the small footsteps you take towards hitting the flags on your big dreams.

Never think that you cannot achieve something because as I know you, being such a hard-working, dedicated girl, you can achieve whatever you want to. I will still suggest you few things what I feel, always remember parents are not so proud of us when we earn big money but they are always proud of us if we are a good human being and they will always be happy to see us happy. And I also wish you always stay happy. I hope you never have a single tear in your eyes as you deserve to be a happy person, just go for it. I wish you get all the success and whatever that success means to you.  I am sure you will write down your goals and will make a path towards them.

You are a nice, soft-hearted, kind person and this one thing always made me have a strong personal bond with you. I hope in future you will also come forward to help and guide other girls struggling through their paths.

God bless you and always keep you happy. The memories with you will always be a part of my happy-days diary at IIT Ropar.

Health Tips and How to avoid Junk Food

Today I am going to share one important experience of my life. In 2014, I joined Ph.D. in IIT Ropar, Punjab. When I came to Ropar I started having the gastric problem. I consulted many doctors but nothing worked out. Some of them suggested that I should leave eating oily stuff, as people think the gastric problem is mainly because of oily stuff. But I belong to west U.P., where every week we have some festival. In my family twice a week it’s sure to have poori and heavy meals. Few dishes are common to that area those belong to the very oily category like samosas, Chhole bhature, chats, lots of potatoes, chips, and so on. So, I felt that oily stuff is not the reason, I am eating it from my childhood. There is something else.

Then one day I went to Apollo hospital Delhi and met with a senior doctor. He was really a very nice person and after all tests, I came to know that I am suffering from vitamin D deficiency, and it also causes stomach fluffiness. I took that treatment for 4-5 months and again went for vitamin D and B-12 tests. Results were positive and I was feeling better.

But, I was still having the gastric problem and was tired of it. I searched online and found that many people are having similar problems. Then I thought I will have to do something. I joined a course on coursera offered by Dr. Maya from Stanford University. I learned a lot from this program and changed my ways of living.  After doing that course, I also read many articles on the internet and watched few more videos and courses.

Now it was a perfect time to implement, what all I have learned. I started implementing few tips in my daily life. Just after 2-3 months, I started getting lots of compliments. People said that I look more active. I was also feeling light because I was having a very less gastric problem. I would like to clear one thing to you, that this article doesn’t mean for weight loss. It’s just to make you healthy and to make you look more fit and active.

Now after reading all this, I know you will also be eager to know these tips, so it’s time to share with you. Before reading these, I hope you will make your mind to follow at least few of them. You can also gain weight after this but don’t worry, this will not happen. 🙂 By using these tips, It’s sure that you will feel better.

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These are the amazing tips that have changed my life, Now it’s time to change yours:

  1. Drinking Water: After waking up, have one glass lukewarm water with lemon and honey. And if possible do the same before you sleep. As all people know hostel students are lazy, so, I just started having normal one glass water in the morning and one before sleeping. Try to take at least 3 liters of water in a day.
  2. A Glass of Milk: We know milk is very healthy for our diet but when should we take it. One doctor suggested me that if I am having gastric problem, I should avoid taking milk in the morning. So, I started having it in the evening, and make sure even after that you should have enough time to digest. One more warning, avoid tea/coffee early morning.
  3. What about meals: We should take 3 meals in a day and I did following changes in that. I started having heavy breakfast, and normal lunch. In dinner, I stopped taking heavy stuff. You can prepare Raita, fruit salad, veg salad, etc. for dinner. Once you start feeling improvements, you can have a proper meal in the night. It has worked for me perfectly, now I can eat anything and have no indigestion/gastric problem.
  4. What More, Exercise and Yoga: I do pranayama for 30-40 minutes in the morning and it’s very good for health. Before making changes in my diet, I used to do exercise for one hour daily, but I didn’t feel any improvement. After these diet changes, I stopped doing exercise, but what I used to do was: After having a meal (lunch/dinner) take around 15 minutes rest and then have a fast walk for 30-60 minutes. It was suggested by a doctor from IIT Ropar and It really helped me.
  5. Just ask one question: I learned this question from an online course by Dr. Maya (Stanford professor) and it has changed my life. Whenever you are having something to eat, just ask one question: why you are going to eat this, Is it really needed? I started asking this and automatically, I was eating more healthy stuff. There are few more tips:
    1. Eat food whenever it is served properly. It will help you to avoid junk food.
    2. Cold Drinks/Soda: These drinks are the best way to spend your money to make your body more unhealthy. Don’t pay much for it.
    3. Control the intake of sugar: Sugar intake is of two types: Direct Sugar (when we eat it directly), and Indirect Sugar (like fruits and milk contain natural sugar). We should control the intake of direct sugar, like in Sweets, Namkeen, chats, candies, and so on.
    4. Daily try to eat fruits, and if you are taking fruit juice, then prefer fresh fruit juice. These are much healthier than the packed juices and have no preservatives.
    5. If you doubt that the food is not cooked with cleanliness, then avoid eating it.
    6. Sleep on time, it really helps.

Now I am eating almost the same food but I just shuffled the timing and results motivated me to write this much longer post. I was very eager to share this with you because I know, it will surely help you as it did mine. Waiting to read good reviews from your side too. 🙂

I am also planning to write one more list of tips for hostellers, like what they can eat and how they can change their diet system when we all know our main focus is the study, not food/health. Please wait for this. 🙂

Best Things I Enjoyed During My Ph.D.

Ph.D. this one word has the power to fill a mind with completely different thoughts, for some people it is a traumatized life, for some this goal is hard to achieve, for some it is a never-ending process, for some it is a group of boring aged people, for some it is a degree to get a better job, and for few it is surely a fun, excitement, relaxation, meditation and a lot more.

What does my Ph.D. mean to me? For me, it is a learning process to live a better life the way I want. For me, it is just a way to live a life based on my own terms and conditions.

I joined my Ph.D. because I always dreamed of doing one (I will share all reasons in detail sometime later). During my Ph.D. I had some ups and down, I understood how does it feel like being on two extremely opposite poles of life like on one extreme being elated and on other being dispirited or at one time being highly motivated and at the other time being completely discouraged. But overall, it is a fun process that will make you out as a totally new person. I completely agree that it has changed my perspective, my way to handle the situation and deal with people, and even more.

Here, I am going to briefly explain every single thing that I enjoyed during my Ph.D., and the list is below:

  1. The very first thing that I completely enjoyed during my Ph.D. is Open Discussions. Once, one of my friends said: I like to discuss science with a cup of Bournvita. And it’s really true. During all the free time or when we were tired of our works, we used to discuss every single thing in the world. We used to have an enormous capacity to discuss anything, whether it is some health tips, latest papers, physics, math or anything. My supervisor always used to ignite the discussion and motivated us to understand the science of everything. I feel it helped me a lot and I gained a lot of knowledge from these discussions. First thing, it will help you to improve your interpersonal discussion skills, Second, it will help you to know about other’s work, and the last but not the least, it will also give you a chance to discuss your work. So, next time wherever you are, in a conference or in a meeting, you are ready to explain your work from a school kid to a specialist in your field. I will suggest every student, discuss as much as possible during your Ph.D.
  2. Book Reading: I read many popular science books and also interesting motivational books during my Ph.D. These popular science books helped me to get the depth of different subjects, at the same time, other books helped me to be motivated during the research. I am a big fan of Paulo Coelho and his books helped me to better understand the life. They never let me feel demotivated. I read books on crowdsourcing, behavioral economics, positive psychology, neuroscience, etc. I have a list of all read books on my homepage. Still, there are many books in the “yet to read” list and I keep adding more 🙂
  3. Motivational Blogs, Articles, and Talks: Initially my supervisor suggested me to read some blogs like a blog by Dr. Radhika Nagpal and some motivational videos like by Dr. Richard Hamming. I always enjoy reading more articles, blogs, and all these ideas always keep me motivated. These things really helped to better understand the research, the motivation of research and even to better understand the Ph.D. like what should you aim and what you actually want. I spend almost all my Sunday reading them and even I have a broadcast mailing list where I share any good article that I come through. It also helps me to connect with the people of same interest.
  4. Paper Reading: I always maintained one rule: Daily Read Research Papers. Sometimes it is not possible to finish a paper in a day, still, I used to read at least for 3-4 hours daily. This morning reading used to help me to give a lot of ideas to work on. I also maintain a diary to note down all these amazing questions. I will also suggest to a student, try this at least once and note down the ideas as soon as you get them otherwise you will forget it later. It’s true that a good research idea will strike you again and again, but still, it’s better to note down at some place so that you can come back to it later.
  5. Discuss Your Work: I always enjoyed discussing my work with my colleagues and friends even if they were not from the same stream. It helped me to get clarity of my work and if we discuss the work with fresh minds, they can also come up with some randomly new ideas which might help you to get a completely new direction towards your work. If we discuss our work with new students, it will motivate them to better understand the research, and some of them can also join you as a collaborator. The connections made during Ph.D. are for the lifetime. I also enjoyed discussing others’ work and help them to choose the best that they want. I gave many presentations during my Ph.D. and I was always excited to give even more 😀
  6. Meet the Deadlines: I always tried my best to meet the deadlines that I set for me. But I always kept one thing in mind: Don’t set the deadline for the paper submission, if the work is not ready. In the starting of the career, it can be harmful. My supervisor helped me to understand this and how it can lead to a shallow work. These deadlines also will not let you enjoy the process of research. So, I always just focused on my work, once it’s done, you can set the submission deadline and work towards it. Still, I tried to set some smaller milestones and always tried my best to meet them. These smaller accomplishments always kept me happy 🙂
  7. Exercise and Yoga: During Ph.D., it is essential to take good care of your health. Initially, I used to feel that I don’t have time for all this. But once I started managing my time, it became an important part of my daily schedule. I was having enough time and the first time in my life, I continued yoga for such a long time and seriously it also helped me a lot.
  8. Hobbies: I always kept some dedicated time for my hobbies except the reading and writing like I enjoy cooking, so, I always prepare something for me at least once a week. I have a list of dishes that you can prepare just with the help of an electric kettle or even without that. I do crafts like making cards. I write poems and also blogs that you already know :P. I won many prizes in poetry and essay competitions in IIT Ropar. Except this, I have some dedicated time to work on my social helping projects and this is one thing that really makes me proud.

I also had some bad times as I told you earlier, but they were very small as compared to all good things. We don’t need to discuss them here, the first reason is: wherever you are, life always has ups and downs and more they are better you learn, and the second is: negativity is more contagious, It lingers in our mind for long time :P. I am a person who overthinks and so I always especially try to be positive. I always talk with positive and motivating people. I will also suggest the same to others. It is applicable in all phases of life.

Ph.D. is one of the best experience of the life where I learned how to handle success and failure, how to deal with completely different people, and still learning more. I hope, my Ph.D. will shape me as a good academician, a good researcher, and the most important a better person 🙂

Journey for the lifetime has begun and I want to cherish every single moment of it 🙂

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My Research Group Photo (2015)