Doctor of Philosophy:
Robert Frost’s road not taken inspired me to jump on to a venture that caused me great agony, exponentially intimidating challenges but taught me a lesson, “ nothing in the world comes free of labour”.
My application in IGNOU New Delhi for a ph.d in English was not paid a heed at all and after sending numerous reminders to the university for six successive months, I did receive a revert from them and that was from the director, “ we have one person in mind who could perhaps help you out in dealing with the subject matter. Speak to her over the phone.
Luckily, I got into touch with a gentle soul my guide(would not like to name her here) who enabled me to prepare a research proposal after three successive years of my constant hard work under her supervision.
A draft was prepared after the rejection of almost over 100 typed versions and with the intervention of a co-guide who insisted on such scrupulous work that accompanied the predicament on becoming - never ending. Nonetheless, I could manage to create a final draft of my proposal somehow despite the reluctant approval of the co-guide stating, “it is ok, could have been better” After 3 years finally I got the golden opportunity of visiting the university with my proposal.
I distinctly remember 10 post doc degree holders sitting right in front of me trying to examine the veracity of my research hypothesis, “ Girish Karnad innovates tradition in order to attest its contemporary relevance”. The question answer session went on to about three hours after which my indefatigable urge to pursue the research was finally accepted and I got admission in the university.
The real trial was to begin now, a strict research on each original source used by Girish Karnad in his plays based on myths and folktales(that was my area of interest) and the modifications he brings about in the story-lines which attests the contemporary relevance in his effort to go back to the past and establish its relevance in the present. This could not isolate the task of observing innovative techniques adopted by the practitioners of the stage while staging Karnad.
7 years. Yes. Seven long years of travail. Preparing drafts, watching performances, sending the critical reviews to theatre directors, getting their approval on your work(and believe me they did help! But their busy schedule makes the researcher rue the fact that one has to contact them) and scrupulously write each line in keeping the grammar and spellings part in mind. Visiting the libraries, sitting there for hours, requesting them for the rare books and material, order some of it from libraries out of town, at times even abroad...indulge in an extensive travel...A fb page can never give the space to recall everything in actual detail. When you sit up late nights connecting with people in different countries matching their clock timings with that of their comfort zones, it becomes difficult. I would not say that it was enjoyable. It was pure HARD WORK.
One cannot do a ph.d without undergoing all of it and this was not anything new that I faced I am sure. So what’s the purpose in writing this? Well simple. “
A researcher is not just a researcher. He/she/anyone is a research scholar working relentlessly day and night to make a draft happen. Please do not assume that researchers have simply to gather information people. There is much more to it!
Dedicated to some who feel - Research in Literature is, “simply digging bones out of one grave and putting them in another”. No it is NOT. It is extracting bones out of the grave, scrutinizing their anatomy and enabling the futuristic possibilities of carrying out such enterprise, not isolating a single element.
What happened after my 500th draft was finally approved and submitted is another long story. Am sure my friends who are interested will definitely make sure they know the latter part of it as well.