City Vox Popili – A Life in Keziah’s Day, IIT Delhi
As part of The Delhi Walla series asking citizens to “write down everything you did in one day.” Send yours in 400 words max to email@example.com
[Photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
[By Keziah Souza, a research scholar in IIT Delh]
Its 7:30. After thrice snoozing the morning alarm, I sleepily get up. I squint my eyes to see outside the window. The Qutub Minar, which used to show up so clearly from my hostel’s 7th floor room, is almost invisible. Delhi pollution! I quickly rush out with my bucket, scared that all the bathrooms might be full by now, and I’ll have to wait long for my turn to bathe.
Afterwards, I make my bed, light a candle, and open my bible to meditate and pray. Following the breakfast, I get on my cycle for a jolly ride to the lab. Being a second-year PhD student in biomedical engineering, I should have been more on the edge, but it is a slow day today. I have already planned my experiments. I run a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in the lab, which takes two hours to finish. In between, I go out for a coffee break at the Nescafe (sic), the only place where we get good coffee near the Academic Block. I spot an eagle perched atop the glorious Dogra Hall. I wonder if she might have many stories to tell about all those generations of IITians who gathered inside the Hall, down the decades, for their respective convocation ceremony to receive the degree. Soon my friends appear and we gossip about our supervisors, our slow progress in research, and our existential crisis.
After finishing with the experiment, I walk to the hostel mess for lunch, just in time it turns out—they are about to clear the counter! Next, back to the room for a power nap, hoping it might help me work more efficiently for the rest of the day.
On waking, I head to a friend’s lab to get the data for my experiment, which is a long slow process requiring lots of patience. Exhausted by the data collection, I decide to treat myself to the momos from the uncle who operates right outside the campus gate. While there, I check out the flower shop for carnations, buying some for my room.
I have now reached a time of the day where the mind has been numbed by all those scientific jargons. I flip through CS Lewis’s Screwtape Letters.
And just like that, the sun starts to set on a lonely researcher’s day. I still have data analysing work left. Post-dinner, I return to my room, prepare a cup of tea, and stare at my reflection on the laptop screen till it comes to life. I tell myself: “I hope this time the experiment worked!” I start analysing the data. I have my beautiful carnations for the night.