By Ranjeet Kumar:
I always wondered what is science all about. Was it the inquisitive personality sitting within that wants to satiate the mental apatite by posing questions innumerable and venturing into unchartered territory to find a rational explanation? This is what I absolutely think now but as nature and nurture does influence the mental programming so was the case with me too. I am sure most of you would have gone through similar experiences. I am making an attempt to share my viewpoints as how I have grown through the inundated zig zag route of idealism and reality.
My mother always maintained that every child is a genius because of the plethora of experimentation he carries out throughout childhood and so was I. Then what poisoned my scientific temperament how did the mechanization of me began? It all started with the school. At home I was free to ask questions and in class whenever I had a doubt it was treated as silly. My question arising from naÃ¯ve thought processes where brutally rejected. The scolding and punishments together with the humiliations in the class made me go off the track. Questions sublimated from my educational agenda and learning by rote i.e. memorizing without understanding became deeply rooted in my consciousness. The process translated eventually to remarkable grades and I scaled up in my career very intelligently.
This was really great but somewhere at the back of my conscious psyche I felt guilt and shame. Awards, recognitions promotion and fame kept pouring in but the big void remained unchanged and rather turned systemic. By rigorous training I became a researcher but am I being true to myself? Is science a vocation for living or a passionate pursuit for knowing the unknown. Has my schooling interfered with my learning? At this point I feel definitely yes. Am I comfortably miserable or miserably comfortable pursuing a career in science? I am seeking honest answers to my own questions. The issue of confrontation between being a pseudo-scientist to becoming a passion-driven researcher continues in the supermarket of science.
The writer is a visiting researcher at Uppsala University, Sweden.