I’m going to Tata Institute of Social Sciences to do an MA in Development Studies. College starts June 13. Those with a memory for obscure detail will remember I mentioned TISS when I wrote about P. Sainath’s no-nonsense book Everybody Loves a Good Drought.I’ve always considered two places as the meccas of social science study in India – Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and TISS, Mumbai. I had applied to the MA International Relations programme at JNU last year but I didn’t get selected. In hindsight, it was one on the best things that happened to me. It disturbs me to think of the life I would’ve led as an international relations scholar. And it is tougher to change career tracks after you’ve finished your post-graduation. But not getting selected also meant spending a year at home doing little else than learning some German. That meant extreme loneliness and the torture of being under-worked. I was rotting away. That was when I wrote the in situ blog posts. Halfway through this idle year I was deeply conflicted. I realised that international relations wasn’t such a good idea after talking to people like a professor who finished his PhD in physics and then worked on the epistemology of science and language; and a very cool lady who had spent seven years living in the foothills of the Himalayas growing her own food before returning to become an environmental philosopher (within the first 2 minutes of our first conversation she called me a “philosopher trapped in communication”). I knew that what I had wanted for almost a year was now what I didn’t want. Then what did I want? Enter Ami Misra. It almost seems unreal now the way things happened. Ami, who is in TISS, casually suggested that I apply to the Development Studies programme there. She thought it would suit my temperament since it had a wide variety of subjects in its course. I applied with no hope of getting selected. The written round flew by and I forgot all about it. A day after the results were declared, Ami asked me to check if I had made it. Lo and behold, I had! There was still the interview between me and a secure place in the course. I had already gotten farther than I expected, I went in feeling good. And anyway, I love facing interview panels. It isn’t often that four or five learned men are all ears to what you have to say! To cut a long story short, I got through, with a result that impressed me! And landing up at TISS makes me wonder how strangely we are pushed around in life. Some people end up in miserable places despite having the best intentions, and some, like me in this case, get churned in the whimsical eddies and are washed ashore to new shiny places.
Woody Allen says it best:
People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It’s scary to think so much is out of one’s control.
C’est la vie!I’m all pumped up about college, and maybe expecting too much. Expectations might overshoot experience and I might start ranting about how this wasn’t what I signed up for. But, let’s delay possible misery for real, salivating anticipation. Bombay, here I come! Ami: I can’t thank you enough for making me apply. You can possibly never realise what a positively life-altering favour you have done me! Thank you. Thank you!