My tryst with formal education started at St. James School in Binnaguri, West Bengal, where I spent some three years getting used to the idea that ‘carrying tales’ about my classmates was a bad, bad thing to do. The panoramic rides to school, safely ensconced in a military-style truck, ended abruptly and I received a reality check in the form of a chaotic and grey Lucknow. After an uneventful stint at Modern College, Lucknow for a year, I moved to St. Fidelis College, Lucknow where I completed the rest of my schooling, that is, from Std. V to Std. XII. My activities at Fidelis can be broadly divided into three main categories — reading, growing taller, and growing leaner.


A hunt for a decent college education found me getting enamoured by the landscaped gardens of Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, DA-IICT in gist. The next four years (August 2005 to July 2009) in Gandhinagar found me trying to come up with a suitable acronym for Dhirubhai Ambani Insti..... and searching for peace of mind in research, writing, books, movies, and, of course, music. I graduated from DA-IICT in July 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in not only Information and Communication Technology, but also one in personality development.


With vague ambitions about pursuing a career in research, I spent the next 7 months (August 2009 to February 2010) working as a research intern at Gram Vaani — a social entrepreneurial start-up working in the field of community media. There, apart from working with some tremendous minds whose technical acumen I was constantly in awe of, I developed an inclination to build a sound understanding of formal research. This realisation precipitated my decision to opt for a Masters program, and learn the ropes of academia.

I quit Gram Vaani in February 2010 and joined the Master of Science (Research) program at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Bangalore in August 2010. I had an exceptional researcher, Dr. Balaji Parthasarathy, as my advisor, from whom I got to learn the nitty-gritty of research. Graduate studies proved to be tedious, isolating, and challenging in equal measure. My experience at IIIT put my choices into perspective and forced me to reevaluate my priorities. As I battled with doubt and my insecurities, I also learnt some of the most crucial lessons in life.
In September 2014, I converted my status at IIIT-B to a part-time student and joined the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy (CITAPP) as a research assistant under Dr. Amit Prakash. My work in this new capacity involves studying the role that information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in the delivery of social protection schemes like direct cash transfers. I also hope to keep working on my Master’s thesis at the same time. This is where I am at this particular moment in life. I hope that when my time here ends, I am not only more learned, but also a lot more wiser. Let’s see how it goes!

Image Courtesy: © Jorge Cham