I am not writing my memoirs to criticize anybody but to release myself from the web of memories. There is always difference between friends, true friends and acquaintances. I met all kinds in Rolla. Towards the end of my graduation some new events occurred. My adviser all of a sudden started telling me that the CAVE which I helped resurrecting will not be subject of my thesis. That actually shook me. Because, all the time last around 1.5 years he had me concentrate on the CAVE. The tension between me and adviser was growing day by day. He wanted me to now work on my thesis regarding Low cost motion tracking systems of Virtual Reality applications. It was very clear that, it is not going to be a silent exit for me from the University.
By the time of my last semester two of my roommates had left the Rolla. One in search of job and one to start his job. Later was already done with his thesis etc. So we were now only three among the original five roommates. I could easily feel that the time was not in my favor. I was living under constant pressure of completing my thesis. On one hand I had a job offer from a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software firm and sheer fear of my adviser ruining it on the other. The days went constantly fuming my future on my face and nights full of nightmares. I tried my best to avoid discussing every details with parents. I never missed opportunity to speak my mind to my friends, my true friends.
Being a writer myself, I believe destiny is the best play writer ever. It left three friends in the same place who were going through similar conditions. Of course, it was more fun (parties) when everyone was there. But, I cannot forget for a moment those evening walks and the porch discussions. It was exactly like a human life. When you are young you play and the moment you grow up you start being serious about everything. It so happened that me and friends got very serious about our future. People say ‘Great minds think alike’ I will say ‘Great friends suffer alike!‘ We were in unique situation where we hated our advisers but liked the research projects.
Thanks to liters and liters of coffee we consumed while discussing our problems, I was able to control my fear. This was the time I started giving more time on YouTube. The worst part of poetry is that, the best thoughts come when you are frustrated. My family and my friends back home, supported me a lot in this time. Because, just the sense of being hopeless used to give me nightmares. I still miss those days when we I used to share my fears with somebody.
On a lighter note, I believe that ‘Research adviser is like mother-in-law‘. It is not necessary that you will suffer but, most probably you will. Unfortunately, we all fell in that majority category of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law hatred. Also, sometimes god challenges you in strange ways. We were surrounded by the people who had no troubles in their research labs or with advisers. I remember that, once one of the guy got a one day holiday request approved from adviser to attend a rock concert. I cannot imagine myself doing so. Another reason was that, I was not getting any money for the research for last semester (got my out state-fees waived off though). Being a foreign (good) student you are not supposed to ask for money once you get into research. So, in nutshell it was a frustrating situation.
After all the juggling between me, my adviser and a post Phd candidate over my thesis, finally my adviser. I had to argue a lot for each and every page of my thesis. Finally I got my thesis defense setup on 14th December 2011. I do not completely remember how I did but, those couple of minutes I was standing in the corridor awaiting result was the longest wait of my time. My heart was pounding like hell! It was a terrible cocktail of fear, optimism, anger, frustration, unpredictability and anxiety. After this wait for for life, my adviser Dr. Leu called me in. He congratulated me for successfully defending my thesis. That was the first time he smiled at me in long time.
I remember I threw a party at my room which only three of us attended! On 16th December I had to leave to Detroit. The mere thought that I cleared one of the biggest hurdle of my life was soothing. My heart was crying inside but, because of relief for a change! Still don’t know why but, I wrote a poem for us (roommates) and framed it as a gift to my friends. I hope they have it with them somewhere!