Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dealing with the Government again ...

I happen to visit Anna University to meet with the HOD of CS Department to discuss a research project that can be of some use to me. The appointment was at 10:30 and I was there at 10:15. I didn't expect her to be ready to meet me earlier. I didn't expect her to be ready to meet me at 10:30 too. So, I was there, the lady at the front desk said that the HOD is out for a viva and won't be back till 11. The options I had were - wait till the HOD returns, leave a note that I was there or just leave the place sulking. I began writing a note and was careful that I did not accuse or pass an unpleasant remark at the sense of punctuality or the indifference of the staff out there. You got to be careful with academician and make sure you don't hurt their ego. Though she can't fail me in my exams, I had nothing to gain in accusing others. So, I was as polite as I possibly can be.

Before handing off the note, I wanted to try other options. I tried to contact my wife who happens to work there. The front desk staff was courteous to make a call to find out where my wife is. She called someone at the third floor and replied me that she's not there. Now it is up to me to walk upto the third floor and find out. It was amazing to find the front desk person so indifferent. But I got to see more. I walked up to the third floor, couldn't find my wife's office. I enquired couple of people who appeared to be her co-workers. Their reply indicated the following - "I don't know, I don't care if you loiter out here till you drop dead".

I meekly returned to the first floor and hoped something useful can happen. It did. My wife was expecting me as she had arranged for the meeting and came down from second floor to check if I got to meet the HOD. She had been in a lab class there. She went to the room where the HOD was attending the presentation and announced my arrival. The HOD came out after a few minutes.

My conversation with the HOD didn't help much. I realized for the hundredth time, that in India, research is research and business is business and the twain shall never meet. Do they ever do a research that was useful to anyone, other than get a Ph.D to someone? As far as I know, in recent times Ashok Jhunjunwala of IIT is the only one who realized that research must be useful to some.

I plan to collect the research topics done in a few Indian universities and IITs and post them someday. Let the country know how useful our intelligentsia are to our country.

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