Saturday, April 30, 2011

Goodbye Australia :'(

I had never imagined myself tearing up at the end of my final PhD talk. I had practiced it in front of the mirror some 5 times before I actually appeared in front of a room full of audience -- most of them plant biotechnologists; who had no clue as to what my research really meant in terms of chemistry. But they were there to cheer me on. So when I reached my last well-rehearsed acknowledgment bit, I was fine until I thanked my family. When I started thanking Australia -- a place that gave me so many friends, I found myself suppressing that well-known feeling of having hot air trying to escape your throat and eyes. :(

It has been a hectic and enlightening three and a half years. I don't know when I am going to fully realize the value of this phase; both in terms of academic and cultural experience. But my guess is that I would continue appreciating this all my life. If there is anything Australia as a culture taught me, it is how to relax. I have still not fully grasped it, because I am an unnecessarily high strung person.

I will miss a lot of things about Australia. I will miss being woken up by this -- a kookaburra laughing in a tree. It is no use being used to hear the song of an Indian Koel if you are planning to move to Australia. The first time I heard a kookaburra call, I thought the bird was dying, and the first time I saw an Australian magpie, I thought it was a crow with a skin condition.Here's Danny Bhoy  --a Scottish comedian (who is half Indian!), talking about Australian wildlife. And to be honest, he is not exaggerating! :)

I will dearly miss the Australian accent. How the sentences here end in inflection points and how the Os are uttered like a strong surf wave hitting the Australian beach. Here is a better description of the Australian accent by Danny Bhoy again.
I will also miss the Queensland beaches with their golden sand and deep turquoise water. Sitting on the sunny beach watching the restless Pacific were some of  my rare, calm moments here. :)
I will miss the touch of the Mediterranean that Australia has. With Greek, Spanish cuisines almost an Australian staple. The small shops owned by European entrepreneurs, proudly presenting the very best from their countries, the Italian caffes and Greek tavernas.

I will miss my friends. I remember when I came to Australia, the only people I knew, that too through the Internet were my PhD guide and my would-be flatmate. When I landed in Brisbane my unreasonable worrying mind was wondering what would happen if the girl I met on the Internet is in reality a scary trap! :)

I value what I learned outside the lab more than what I did in the lab in order to get a PhD. It is a strange feeling to know more everyday yet feel like you know nothing yet. To see people who have lived lives exploring paths that never even existed in the road map that was carved for you when you were growing up. To meet people who have come a long way from their home but have still managed to carry their home with them. And then to meet people who have never left home, but have long journeys embedded in their hearts. It is quite perplexing to slowly see yourself lose the ability to make strong judgment. To see yourself as a collage of many identities and to be less certain of what is the most predominant of all of those. What is more surprising than being less certain about who you really are, is being happy about it!


Mandar Gadre said...

How beautiful, Saee!

We have been fortunate to get a glimpse of Australia through your writings. Such a fitting end to that!

Many congratulations, and wish you all the very best for what lies ahead - new continent, new challenges, new friends and new memories to be made.


Abi said...

Thanks for this post, Saee. Reading it brought back some great memories of my own grad school experience.

Great to know Australia has been good to you, and has had a good influence on you. Wonderful.

Wish you all the best in your next adventure.

Raj said...

Congratulations, Dr. Kesakar! :)

I know how it feels when you come back home. It's like home away from home.

On a lighter note, one of my friends managed to deliver this Sholey dialogue before his PhD viva,

"आ गये मेरे मौत का तमाशा देखने!" :D

Abhijit Bhave said...

Awww. . Your readers don't like this either. We want our author to be in foreign lands and interesting places. :)

Saee said...

Thank you for your encouragement too. :)
Thanks for the comment. It was a wonderful experience indeed. But I did not want to spoil it by saying something corny like "I found myself in Brisbane". :)
Ha ha final talk was fairly easy. Infact the panel said that my talk was much superior to my thesis. :-| I am going to look at it as a compliment to avoid psychological complications. :)
Don't worry. Many more lands are yet to be explored. Many more hearts to be conquered. :D I really sound corny!

a Sane man said...

Congrats and good luck! :)

Random Thoughts said...

Cool. You are finally done with the PhD?
C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s ! ! !
It must be a bittersweet last few days. Enjoy yourself.
Do let me know when you plan to come to this side of the globe.

Saee said...

@ Nimish,
Thanks. :)
Yes. I will definitely keep you posted. It is a bittersweet thought. But I am sure once I start the journey back home, I will be excited and happy again. :)
Thank you for your wishes.