Internship at IISc Bangalore – Jyothishraj from IISER-Trivandrum

Internship at IISc BangaloreHow a simple phone call can bring a drastic change in your life. You planned to intern somewhere and end up representing your nation at an international platform. What else can be more delightful? Jyothishraj’s (right-most) life is a major roller coaster but it tend to drop him at the best platform. At one moment, he is sweating and experimenting in lab and at the other moment, dressed in formal suit he is debating in Russia. His life’s experiences unfold as we read.

Summer ’15, was my second successive internship in IISc, Bangalore; under the same Prof, in the same lab and on the same topic. But the moments I lived, the people I met and the experiences I had, were anything but the same; rather it was mesmerizingly unique & in all probability, would go down as an evergreen memory.

I’m a 4th year Physics major at IISER-TVM and I had the opportunity to work with Prof. A.K.Sood in summer ’14 too, thanks to IAS SRFP program. So, this year, when my applications to internships in USA, Germany & Japan didn’t go through, I decided to continue my work under him. It was a long shot and an 11th hour decision, given the fact that he has one of the best research labs in India, and hence, getting a second chance was indeed doubtful. Still I decided to have a go, with subdued optimism in my mind, and guess what, he took me in !

So there I was, 16th of May, reporting for work at IISc and he gave me 2 new problems to try out. They were a challenge on their own but adding to the task were the facts that neither I had a PhD mentor to work with, nor the experimental setup. Regardless of all these points, I saw it as a chance to do some individual work, trying out stuff, “experimenting” in real sense. Prof. Sood encouraged me to try my best to finish off things as much as I can in these two months. The 1st couple of weeks were consumed by software issues and setting up a new camera for my trials. At this point, I got a little bit nervous as I have never done such work before. Nevertheless, I began my experimental trials and go & behold, the results came good. Within few days, we had enough for further analysis. Now came the Herculian part of the project – planning an optimum scheme for analysis & coding it to perfection. This was really painstaking for me due to my primitive coding background and lack of support to comprehend what was a problem that had risen as a part of a PhD thesis. Amidst all these turmoil, what kept me sane, was the adventures that I had in Bangalore. I have been coming to India’s garden city since I was a kid, for various reasons, but believe me, it always seems to be nothing short of a Pandora’s Box to me. Guess what it had in store for me this summer?

A visit to Bannerghatta national park with my buddies, watching the I-League finale live from Sri Kanteerava stadium, cheering our throats out for Team India in their World Cup qualification match against Oman, lots of books & lot more football-discussions with my crazy cousin sister and what not. Really, had it not been for these people and programs, I’d have literally had my brains burning with all that workload. But, the biggest incident was yet to come, and wasn’t it a hell-of-a-surprise? FYI, I’m the recipient of KVPY fellowship, the highest scholarship that a science undergrad can achieve in India. Being a fellow gives you access to the best labs & the best people, provided one is really motivated to science. One fine evening, my Dean from Institute rings me and while I was still in awe of what was happening, he bursts the next bomb of surprise with the question, “” the KVPY office needs an undergrad for participation in the Indian Delegation for the BRICS Youth Summit to be held in Kazan, Russia. We’d like to recommend you for the same,””

Well, I’m the founder of the Institute Quiz Club, and an active participant in literary contests and so on; but this was nothing short of a shock to me. Needless to say, I said I was interested, but I had to seek permission from my guide to let me go. I was a bit on edge on how to present the matter, but he seemed absolutely fine with it, and wished me all the best for the venture. Then began a string of virtual interviews & questionnaires from Dept. of Science & Technology and eventually Ministry of Youth Affairs, and after 2 weeks, the results were out – I was selected.

Within 48 hours, I had to get a formal suit done, collect my stuff, do an awful lot of running and report to Delhi for the preparatory sessions. A little bit about the Summit now; it was the first ever BRICS Youth Summit, and was intended to unite the youth in 5 of the world’s most promising, developing nations, and let the Government know what we wish to accomplish, for the common & individual good. I was one among the 10 delegates in the Sci-Tech Cooperation section, which was one among the 5 sections in the delegation. We had group discussions and presentations during our stay in Delhi and by the time we boarded the flight to Moscow, had been a chaotic, yet charismatic bunch of youngsters, elated to represent our country at an international table.

1st July morning, we reached Moscow after a 6 hour flight. I had more reasons for unbounded joy as it was my 1st international journey, 1st flight experience [ God ! the physics behind the wings is awesome ! ] and also, the added perk that I was the youngest delegate in the 5 groups !! The Summit had everything a youth needed – working sessions to test one’s potential, discussion & debates to share & question ideas, trips to learn the life & culture of people and entertaining shows to relax ourselves. I participated in the working sessions with the prime motive of understanding the scientific scenario in other nations – their education systems, approach to research, mindset for collaborations etc. I had the opportunity to learn about the challenges & solutions in BRICS, most of which were mutual, and some specific. In the end, we were successful in drafting a formal document for cooperation in the field, which was signed by the Youth Ministries of the 5 nations at the Concluding session. Thus, the principal objectives of the Summit were achieved and we look forward to see the proposals turn into reality in the coming days.

As an avid traveller and owner to an inquisitive mind, I had great expectations when it came to visiting new places. We had the fortune to visit the historic Red Square & Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the scenic Arabat Street in Moscow. Kazan offered a totally different picture – the diverse culture in Kazan Kremlin, Mosques & Cathedrals, intangible treasures in the form of the ethnic dances & songs of Tatarstan and natural wonders by the shores of the mighty Volga River. It gave me moments to cherish, ideas to ponder over and most important of all, new friends from 5 different countries to keep.  Despite being brought up in diverse societies, our aspirations as young people had similarities and we were able to come to a consensus, which materialized in the form of the MoU signed by the Youth ministries of BRICS nations at the closing session. In short, I came to the Summit as an Indian delegate but left as a BRICS youth ! Now it must be fairly obvious to you, why I defined this summer the way I did in the very first paragraph. A chance to work alone, face challenges, have fun with your loved ones, represent your nation at an event of real significance; well seriously, I couldn’t have asked for more.

PS : Thank you Internshala for this, writing is my way to get my emotions out, and you just gave me a platform to do that !

If Jyothishraj’s experience motivates you, you can check the latest internships in Bangalore and latest Science internships.

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