Long autobiographical blurb ahead. Blame mutruppuLLi's nice post for spurring this confessional.
There is an RK Narayan story aboout a man who spends his fortieth birthday in a park (not going to work !) thinking of how nothing has actually changed in his life as he grew older. He had the same tendencies, weaknesses, joys and fears but just cloaked differently. Magician that he is, somehow RKN made it sound like a happy realization ! I am hunting for that story.
Q: Why economics after PCM ?
A: I hate physics. I refuse to submit to it.
Three years of being looked at with eyes of pity by uncles who were considering the calamity had befallen my parents
Q:What now ?
A: Masters in Economics I guess
Q: Why ? You like it so much ?
A: Hmm... actually I learnt squat these three years so I am trying to justify my past....
A: You'll atleast have to grant me the freshness in that argument
Q: What now ?
A: I like this reading and writing stuff. Perhaps I can hang out for a year and learn something, use the library, guided reading. Write a paper... I think I want to be an academic
(Somehow supposed to be more respectable to say that at 22 when actually it had no stronger basis than the kindergarten astronaut fancy - to get paid for reading and writing, what could be better !)
Prof: On what ?
Me: Hmm...something in Language, epistemology.....or rationality theory..Something as tangentially related to econ it as possible. Familiarity, contempt etc. you know
Prof: Take a job now and apply for a PhD someplace next year.
Me: Job ??? As in the real world....You're talking to me ?
I am in the corporate grind. Or so you think you poor fellows. I am just parking myself for a year and then I am off to climes that better suit my intellectual inclinations
Hmm it is not that bad...with just as much 'challenge' I have appetite for. Now.... do I 'love' econ enough for a PhD ?
Money is a great argument-ender. One nice fellowship closes case. Tie hair pull mountain. Nothing to lose.
Find hairless man in a cold distant country's university, rewriting a thesis he started six years ago. He leaves the wife and kids home and spends the day differentiating matrices in a basement lab. He hopes to keep differentiating till he finds limiting conditions for the applicability of the Mundel-Fleming trade model.
Q:Of the.. what ?
A: Never mind...that's the point
Grad secratary: You can't take 'Introduction to Epistemology' as an allied paper
Me: They do some Bayes theorem there... so it can be taken as the required statistics credit
GS: No it can't be.
Me: (to myself)Well, it was worth a shot
Location: One of the distant nation's biggest libraries. Comparative Religions section. A cloaked Mulla-Omar lookalike is the only other person on the floor and he is far away thumbing through a distant stack. Secluded and ideal to talk on phone
Me: Ahem....I was wondering if I can have my job back ?
Q: Why are you back to this ? Should have gone for something like xyz which you like
A: yeah but if you do what you like, professional disfascination sets in. It's better to bake bread separately and think of xyz in my free time.
Q: Very well. But two questions..
Q: What free time ?
A: Ah touché. Next question....
Q: Do you know what xyz is ?
A: Not exactly. I hope to figure it out when I grow up