With 2007, going away and the new year arriving, I am keen to look back at things that I have learned and achieved. It would also be important to look at the contributions of people to my life and people who have inspired me to march ahead this year, in spite of the difficulties.
The month of January found me in Hyderabad at the Map World Forum, a group to showcase the latest developments in the field of Geoinformatics, be it in terms of technology or research. I did make a few friends and got back in touch with Sonal and her husband Mrityunjay, Dr. Parth Sarathi Roy and Harish Karnatak. Sonal and I were colleagues in 2000 and it was nice to see her seven years later. I also met Shubha, her little kid and she was quite friendly after the initial shyness which every child shows after encountering a stranger. I also had a visit to Harish's residence only to find out that he was getting ready to settle into a blissful married life. I could not however visit Dr. Roy and his family as I was getting late for the departure back to Kanpur. It was nice to catch up with old friends and get back to the old times when we worked, laughed, quarrelled and discussed together.
I completed my second year of French lessons this year. Thanks to Eugénie Duthoit, she made it quite comfortable for us to learn advanced French. She also inspired us to go ahead for DELF and DALF and also offered to train us for the same. Eugénie silently went back to France via Delhi in the wee hours of the morning one day. I had purchased a gift for her, but was not able to hand it over to her. Later, I found her as a good person discussing life on the internet over chat (We changed from vous to tu). Eugénie has also written a blog describing her experiences on her visit to India.
My supervisor Dr. Bharat Lohani has kept on pushing me for performance throughout this year. With his support I registered my name for a conference in Germany. It was to be my first international conference. I took this chance to meet the scientists and researchers working in my direction of research and gained from their experiences. Interestingly Dr. Lohani went on to attend other conferences in Austria and Switzerland and those papers won prizes.
Prof. Onkar Dikshit has been quite supportive for all the years that I have stayed at IIT Kanpur. In fact, when I took up the course Engineering Drawing for my Teaching Assistantship, he supplied me with study and support material for the programme. Although time consuming, this was one of the best Teaching Assistantship experiences I had in IIT Kanpur. In addition to the learning I had, I also got the time to interact professionally with Dr. Amit Prashant and Dr. Sarvesh Chandra.
I took up to learning German in the new semester. Although quite different from French, I am having a nice time learning it owing to my classmates whom I tease often during the class. This semester also saw Eugénie revisiting India for bidding a goodbye to her friends. She also introduced me to Amandine Almarcha, a sweet, smiling, chirpy and crazy French girl, who is here to teach advanced French. On every weekend, Amandine, I and some of our earlier classmates of the French language, meet over a cup of tea and a few snacks to discuss French culture, politics and practices.
In the month of November, I had a visit to Ahmedabad for another conference on the visualization of geographic data. In the process I had the opportunity to taste real Gujarati food at Rajwadu. Based on a theme of an original Gujarati mansion, the experience was full with Gujarati cuisine and music. Home made butter, missi roti and the other mithais still make my mouth water. It was also an opportunity to meet people who worked earlier at Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun and catch up again with the old times.
This December, I got a mail from Mrs. and Mr. GOODALL (people whom I stayed with as a paying guest at St. Jean de Brayé at 2003) regarding their visit in February 2008 to the north-western parts of India. I do feel quite excited and maybe we could meet sometime.
Culturally, this year was very fruitful. We had a delight watching and listening to people to the likes of Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan (99 yrs old!), Guru Jayarama Rao and Vanashree Rao, Ms Sunanda Sharma, Pt Biswajit Chowdhury and Mrs Shubha Mudgal, with the help of a group called SPIC-MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth).
Lastly, this was also a year for goodbyes. My dida (naani) left this world for the heavenly abode. She was in bed for long and had suffered a lot during her lifetime owing to her illness. Naani loved me a lot. But I hope she has reached the heavenly abode and is in no more pain. Baramaima's elder brother left this world too. I bid goodbyes to people as well, and decided to march ahead, looking for new horizons.
Over and all, this year was inspirational and I am here looking ahead for the sun to arise on the morning of the new year.
A merry Christmas and a happy new year, 2008 to all!