Keeping the body and the soul together…

After waiting for a job in software development for CAE for a good 6+ years, not gettting a single job in that field despite shameless hiring advertisements, shameless Internet posturings, shameless interviews in biz magazines (e.g. of Ratan Tata or of Dr. Raghnunath Mashelkar), shameless announcements (e.g. by M/s Jyotiraditya Scindia and Vilasrao Deshmukh, the de-facto IT minister of Maharashtra)  and shameless speeches in general by both Americans and Indians alike (with a lot of money flowing freely only to certain priviledged incompetents even in this field of CAE), I have, finally, to be able to keep my body and soul together, joined the Sinhgad Institute of Technology, Lonavala, Near Pune, India, as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering (a post which is equivalent to that of Associate Professor in the American system), on a salary of Rs. 14,500/- Basic per month; i.e. a gross salary of approximately Rs. 33,000/- per month after including perks and allowances; i.e. a “carry-home” salary (after tax deduction) of approx. Rs. 22,000/- per month; i.e., in American terms, a salary of about $ 9,000 per annum before tax and $ 6,000 per annum after tax, all benefits included). The termination notice period is one month; I have been put on probation for the initial one year.

I had informally shown my interest in May 2008, and had formally applied for the job in June 2008, and, though the interview calls for all such posts had gone out and hirings were made right in late-June and early-July (but not in May), and though the academic term itself had begun as early as July 3, 2008, I was still not included in any part of this hiring process. Several people (including the founder—Prof. Navale) of Sinhgad Institutes had been my past (and close) colleagues (in 1984–85 and in 1989–90), and so, I could enquire about the status of my application with them directly. I did this around mid-July. I did not get to know the real reason why I was not called for the interviews, but I was hired anyway, though even this occurred only after a follow up of about three-four weeks from my side (including putting a third-party friend in between), the follow up being with one of my own past colleagues and friends who is now a Principal in one of the Sinhgad colleges/institutes. The date of appointment nicely read a “symmetrical” August 20, 2008 (write it the British and Indian way to see the “symmetry”: 20/08/2008), and though the verbal promise was for a full Professor’s post, the official appointment letter only says “Assistant Professor.” (Despite typos always being very easy possibilities, in this case, it was not one.) The reason cited was that there were many people with them who had submitted PhD thesis but were awaiting defence; they could take objection. The case of at least one person who is only a master’s degree holder and who was junior to me at COEP during my undergraduate days (in fact entering COEP after I had already graduated from it), but who nevertheless has been made a full Professor without submission of PhD thesis let alone defence), apparently, had not occurred (or had been overlooked). Far more importantly, nothing, apparently, had been made a note of regarding the nature and quality of my research results, one would have to suppose. The appointment is meant for Lonavala, and not for Pune, which means I have to take a daily commute of about 1.75 hours one way (i.e. 3.5 hours both ways) every day of the working week (and for half number of Saturdays in the month also), but, yes, the Institute does provide almost free commute buses which are not Volvo (and which sometimes require commuting while standing, in these faculty-only buses, too.) I could collect the appointment letter itself on August 21, and so, could join only on August 22, 2008. … Tch. One misses historic dates like August 20, 2008. …

After joining, I have been characterized as a useful “resource,” and have been asked to jump in an ongoing course on “Heat Transfer” which was in the process of being taught to the third year undergraduate students. The faculty member who was busy teaching it got his next appointment letter (one at MIT, Pune, only in the month of August (but not in May or July), and so, he could not leave before, and so, he began teaching, but after getting his letter he had to leave, and so, I am now supposed to teach in his place. Out of the six course units in this course on Heat Transfer, only one unit is still remaining to be taught, and I have now to teach it. But the topic remaining is not the sixth unit of “Condensation and Boiling and Heat Exchangers,” which has already been covered, but the one specific unit before that, namely, “radiation” in particular.

My class-room teaching begins on the next Monday i.e. September 1, 2008.

But, yes, this job does allow me to keep my soul and body together. Really speaking, in the particular terms in which the hiring decision was (very likely) actually made, the one question discussed must have been: “And, now, do we let Jadhav-Sir die?,” the answer to which question, evidently, has been made in the negative. der hain, andher nahin.

Yes, you may feel free to wish me luck. (Don’t worry if you did. The whole world already knows I need it—I mean, the “luck”.)

I am still getting to know the place and the people… More, later… (Like, you may look forward to a PDF document containing my notes for the class, to be posted soon enough.)

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One thought on “Keeping the body and the soul together…

  1. Congratulations Ajit! I hope some of your students turn out to be great. Though people in India think that the country is capable of producing only 3000 or so students each year who are capable (i.e. the ones that get into IITs), I think our country has a significantly larger (and probably better) pool of talent. I hope you can spot and nurture some of that talent.

    Cheers!

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