My story ten years ago is not of bravery or a valor, it’s a very ordinary story about an ordinary person.
I had moved to Bangkok as a trailing spouse with a two-year old daughter. While I loved the city and the life, I felt a void. I decided to pursue a PhD in India. I was struggling through my program. It was not as easy as I thought it would be. Every holiday I had to leave Bangkok with my kindergarten-aged child to return to Mumbai where my parents are based.
I spent so much time at the Library of Mumbai University. The topic I chose was Stylistic Analysis of Salman Rushdie 's texts. I took it upon myself to analyze three of his major texts. Thailand did not have any good libraries for me to refer to, so I had to write to borrow books from various colleges in Mumbai and then photocopy them and bring them back to Bangkok.
The first step for my thesis preparation was reading all of Rushdie's works and though I thoroughly enjoyed it, I was clueless how to analyze his texts. The second step for me was to understand stylistics clearly and the union between language and literary criticism. I found support for my ideas from a few critics and reading them enhanced my understanding. I disagreed with most, and in this disagreement I discovered the argument of my thesis. This beginning provided me a sense of achievement, but also a sense of jitters in my spine.
While finishing the program I was trying my best to be a perfect wife and mom. There was always a struggle within. Some days were very fulfilling and some days were stressful. Other days brought disappointment. I submitted my thesis in 2008. On December 31st 2008, I was awarded my doctorate degree from Mumbai University, but I did not go to collect my diploma. My son was born January 1st 2009, satisfying my first child’s desire for a sibling.
The decision came, while holding my little boy in my arms, as I had given a lot of time to my first child I would do the same for my second baby. My family members and friends felt it was a very unwise choice.
Why would someone do a PhD and then do nothing?
However, I felt I was doing something. I was very content and at the same time very positive that someday I would return to another kind of work. I stood my ground and reprioritized my life. I used all the attributes that I had acquired pursing my degree to build a nurturing home.
When my son nearly turned three, I met the wife of the Indian Ambassador to Thailand. She appeared impressed by my schooling and asked me to present my thesis at a local university. I did so and read my paper on Rushdie at a major English conference. I was given a title by the university, Bharatha Medhi (Indian Scholar). I was among International authors and well-known critics. I was a bit nervous but positive, validated in the fact that I knew a day like this would come when my knowledge would be celebrated. I hadn’t had to compromise on things I felt were important.
The journey over the past ten years is one of self-discovery, self-control and introspection. I made it through with the conviction I formulated getting my degree. I made it here by finding my own methodology. Once my son turned five years old I started working as a full-time lecturer. I am thoroughly enjoying my job, because I strive to do my best work in whatever capacity, and because I’ve learned to derive job satisfaction from my own sense of self.
Dr. Manisha was born and raised in Mumbai, India where she taught in Management institute and did corporate training. She relocated to Bangkok in 2004 . She worked for a company training the executives in Corporate communication. Currently she is a full time lecturer in an university in Bangkok and is on board of reviewer for an international academic journal.
Manisha urges you to support a children 's home called Baanunraak: one can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.