One of the most rewarding parts of achieving a goal is knowing how much struggle you overcame to get to it. For instance, the fact that you snoozed the alarm day after day to finally be able to wake up at 7 everyday for 2 weeks continuously is something to be proud of.
25 years ago: June 1997. I was selected for the highly competitive & coveted integrated PhD (MS + PhD) program at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. My life changed forever. Whatever little I have done, I owe it to IISc. I narrate a fascinating story. Read on (1/n) pic.twitter.com/laYimkZpCQ— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
25 years ago, Mr. Mukhopadhyay had applied to and been selected for an incredibly coveted and respected PhD program at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. In a Twitter thread, the professor has narrated his journey (literally) to the day of his interview at IISc!
I wrote the entrance exam that was held in early May at many centers across India including in Calcutta (now Kolkata). My exam went quite well and I was certain of getting shortlisted for the on-campus interview that was scheduled to be held from June 16 – 18, 1997 (3/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
The interviews were scheduled to start on June 16, 1997. On the 16th morning, I was at home and was totally frustrated. My dream to study at IISc had shattered. I was unable to accept this & was preparing myself to continue at Jadavpur University or join an IIT for my MSc (6/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
I thought I had missed a big opportunity. Interviews have already started and it would take nearly 2 days (~ 36 hours) to reach Bangalore. Then I looked at the letter carefully; my interview was scheduled for June 18 at 9 AM – I had about 45 hours to reach Bangalore (8/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
The train got delayed by 3 hours and I got a chance to organize things. I spoke with officials and showed them my interview letter and my canceled reservations. Finally, after looking at all the documents, I was assured of a seat up to Madras (11/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
Mr. Mukhopadhyay encountered numerous obstacles on his way to the interview, and I’d hate to glorify struggle, but this story demands respect for how well he dealt with the hurdles he came across.
Finally, I located a train called Guwahati-Bangalore Express that was stranded on a dark platform almost isolated from the main station. In the midst of lightning, thunder, and tumultuous rain, I managed to board the train (14/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
But the slow speed continued to worry me throughout the night. In the morning it sped up a bit and someone told me we’d arrive in Bangalore before 8 AM. Every stop made me worried about whether I’d be able to make it to IISc before 9 AM. It was going down to the wire (16/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
I entered the IISc campus (gorgeous campus but no time to enjoy). I had to sprint with my backpack and suitcase to reach the Organic Chemistry building and entered the interview waiting room at ~ 9 AM. Immediately, my name was called and I rushed into the committee room (19/n).— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
The interview panel was highly impressed with my performance and I was asked to appear for the final round of interviews on the 18th afternoon. The final interview went very well and I was offered integrated PhD admission at IISc – I was ecstatic and triumphant! (22/n)— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
My life changed 25 years ago. I don’t know what I’d have done had I not made it to IISc. Whatever I have done in my life, I owe it to IISc. I couldn’t have asked for a better PhD advisor, a better environment, or a better PhD (with papers in Angewandte Chemie, JACS, etc.) END— Samrat Mukhopadhyay (@SamratLabMohali) June 7, 2022
Mr. Mukhopadhyay described how even though he’d cancelled his train reservation, he somehow found trains connecting and taking him to Bangalore, through all the terrible weather and slow train speed. How inspirational! Here’s how people reacted to this lovely narration of his!
Sir, I’ve a similar story though not half as thrilling as yours. I had written SNAP & was AIR 8. But just before the GD/PI (used to last for 3 days back then) i had to be operated on & needed post operative care. But i spoke to my doc & flew to Pune with stitches. Cracked it 😊— June Paul (@journojuno) June 9, 2022
Brilliant! What a story! Reminds me of my own but that cant compare with this edge of the (train) seat thriller.— Manjari Jain (@minivets) June 7, 2022
Did the auto guy get confused when you said IISc? (they only know it as Tata instiute)
50 years ago: June 1972, I applied to MS program at IISc. I did not get any interview call. It encouraged me to apply elsewhere and changed my career too!— PKamat (@KamatlabND) June 8, 2022
Incredible!!! My heartbeats got back to normal only when you reached at the interview door 5 minutes before the scheduled time. I am sure the panel would agree to interview you anyway in their lunch break if you couldn’t make it in time.— Avijit Banik (@AviBanik81) June 7, 2022
Well. In 1973, I never recieved the telegram for my PhD interview at JNU. Luckily, JNU also sent a hard copy of telegram by post, which reached me in time. Since they were paying to and fro train fare, I attended the interview.— Rameshwar Sharma (@RTGR_Hyderabad) June 8, 2022
Tons of thrill and motivation in your story. Those were the days of postal communication, with non-delivery of exam hall ticket/interview letter meaning the end of hope for the student. In post-covid era, all you wud have needed was a laptop with internet to appear for interview— Dushyant K Garg (@gargdushy) June 8, 2022
We don’t know each other but your story definitely inspired me. In 1997 I was 10th student and my only ambition was to study at IISc. Little did I know then that my life would take me to London & Imperial college would be my PhD destination. Like you I am super proud of my PhD!— Shikta Das PhD MSc (she/her) (@shikta_das) June 7, 2022
Finally, someone said it! This whole scenario was a scene right out of a movie!
sounds like a dramatic entry scene from a Bollywood movie 🙂— rangachari lab (vijay) (@RangachariL) June 8, 2022
Thank you for sharing! We haven’t interacted but your story is extremely inspiring. A reflection on your perseverance to make things happen. Which I am sure translated into success in your research as well!— Avishek Pal (@Avishek_Pal) June 7, 2022
Your story reminds of Paulo Coelho’s lines “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it”. IISc is blessed to have passionate alumni like you. Well done sir 👍— Gopu Raveendran IRTS (@GopuRaveendran) June 7, 2022
This story made my day, sir and the way you presented it in a thrilling and exciting way, i didn’t even realise it was a long read of 24 threads.— Saikat Sengupta (@saikatsen2409) June 7, 2022
“Jab kisi cheez ko puri shiddat se chaho toh Puri kayanat use tumse milane me lag jati hai”
That’s truly inspiring! Funnily when I was coming to IISERM, my Kalka Mail derailed near Kanpur (quite a major accident) my dad and I, took autos to Kanpur, then a rental car to Agra, then a train to Delhi, another to Ambala and finally a taxi to Mohali. Crazy adventures!— Srijit Mukherjee (He/Him) (@2207srijit) June 7, 2022
From your experience Sir, one thing is very clear to me which goes like ‘ Whatever is meant to happen will surely happen’ . 😅✨🙏— Nishtha Tripathi (@Nishtha79272474) June 7, 2022
This is so inspiring and almost a movie plot. Kudos to you. IISc is indeed a dreamland.— Jayastu Senapati (@jayastuMD) June 7, 2022
To want something so much, and to make sincere efforts to achieve it; what’s a more inspirational story than this?