LIFE IS EMPTY & MEANINGLESS – a tribute….a perspective by Savitri

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In Mahabharatha, one day during their exile, the Pandavas go near a lake to quench their thirst. The caretaker of the lake, a Yaksha asks them not to drink water until they answer all his questions. The four brothers – Nakula, Sahadeva, Arjuna & Bheema drink the water without bothering about the Yaksha and fall dead. Finally the eldest of them – Yudhistra answers the questions and satisfies the Yaksha, who is actually Lord Yama in disguise. One of the questions is:
Yaksha: What is the greatest wonder of this world?
Yudhistra: The fact that people think that they are permanent in this world, though everyday they see several people dying with their own eyes. Could there be a greater wonder than this?
Last week, this time he was with us. He was speaking to his family members, with lot of difficulty though. Today he is not there. Yes, i am talking about my father-in-law, whose demise has left a deep impact on me. This was the first time; i have been near a close family member who was breathing his last. My father-in-law, Dr.V.A.Sathgurunath had everything a person would need to lead a happy and a satisfied life. A devoted spouse, well settled children, brilliant grand-children, a busy schedule, a business to look forward to, loving employees and a wonderful life. He used to proudly state, “I don’t have ABCD – Arthritis, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol & Diabetes.”
Dr.V.A.S, as he was fondly called by all, also had an envious educational & professional background. He was an IIT – Kharagpur topper, was in charge of the inception of SSTP – BHEL as a Senior DGM, Trichy and President of Jindal Steel Plant. Dr.V.A.S, at the age of 65+years, achieved his Doctorate in Naturopathy.

Then what went wrong? His death was the final battle in his long war with Lung disease. According to the medical experts, this disease was a result of being exposed to the pollution in the steel factory for many years, where he had spent more than half of his lifetime. And gone was the person known to be a disciplinarian and a perfectionist all his life.
It did take me a while to come out of this distress, especially looking at my mother-in-law, whose life had revolved around him. After spending 52 years with him, she looked like a fish out of water to me. Death is the inevitable and unavoidable conclusion to life. But our mind does not accept it easily, especially when the person close to us is ‘no more’. It’s just a reminder of however carefully we plan our future, we still have only limited amount of time in which to live to our fullest.
Recently, i was reading about the cultural aspects of death & dying. While death is a universal phenomenon, the methods of expressing grief are culturally bound. All cultures have developed ways to cope with death in a respectful manner. In many cultures for example people wear black as a sign of mourning. In China, white is the colour of death. Christians & Muslims, both believe death is a transition to a more glorious place. They believe in the sovereignty of God. Buddhists believe that the living co-exist with the dead. In some cultures, worship of dead is important and it includes making offerings of food, money, clothing & blessings.
It was surprising to note that in some cultures organ donation is not permitted. Hinduism speaks on the transition of soul to a new life (similar to Buddhism). A person is said to be born again as a result of his past and the accumulation of his positive & negative actions. In some cultures, showing grief, including wailing, is expected of mourners because the more torment displayed and the more people crying, the more the person was loved. In Japan, it is extremely important not to show one’s grief. They believe, death is a time of liberation and not sorrow.
Each person reacts differently to death. Some are consumed by grief and agony; others take a moment to reflect on life. Some even laugh at it.
What puts me off is that for some people death is a business opportunity. For the first time I was exposed to death being an industry by itself, in our country especially. For so many people, it is a source of income. And for the bereaved family, it is a moment of confusion and sorrow, which is exploited by many of in our society.
Though difficult to ask, there are some crucial questions that need to be a part of the conversations among the family members of the ailing person. What are our cultural rituals, the role of every family member, who speaks to the doctor and the final arrangements?
Not to forget the people who stand by us during this difficult period. The friends and the near and dear ones who are with us and supporting us. That’s when one realizes the number of people who are with us. Can we call them our ‘true friends’?
Finally, I would like to share a beautiful thought shared by one of my friends recently, which truly made sense.
A man died… When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand. Dialogue between God and Dead Man:
God: Alright son, it’s time to go
Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans…
God: I am sorry but, it’s time to go
Man: What do you have in that suitcase?
God: Your belongings
Man: My belongings? You mean my things… Clothes… money…
God: Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth
Man: Is it my memories?
God: No. They belong to Time
Man: Is it my talent?
God: No. They belong to Circumstance
Man: Is it my friends and family?
God: No son. They belong to the Path you travelled
Man: Is it my wife and children?
God: No. they belong to your Heart
Man: Then it must be my body
God: No No… It belongs to Dust
Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!
God: You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.
Man with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from the God’s hand and opened it… Empty…
With heartbroken and tears down his cheek he asks God…..
Man: I never owned anything?
God: That’s Right. You never owned anything.
Man: Then? What was mine?
God: your MOMENTS. Every moment you lived was yours. Do Good in every moment, Think Good in every moment, Thank God for every moment
Life is just a Moment. Live it… Love it… Enjoy it……
That’s why I stated “LIFE IS EMPTY & MEANINGLESS”

By Savitri

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The Budding “Mastermind” from Trichy – story of a passionate Quizzer

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I was born on 29th June, 1990 in Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli District.My father is a Manager in Canara Bank and my mother is a Sub-Divisional Engineer in BSNL.I have a sibling, who a teacher in a private school in Tiruchirappalli.

I am an alumni of Sri Akilandeswari Vidhyalaya, E.R.Higher Secondary School, Srimad Andavan Arts & Science College and the most prestigious National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.

Right now I’m a Software Engineer in AtoS India Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore. It was not a long term plan to become a techie guy in software industry. It was a sudden thought “let me analyse what’s the specialty in IT!”

Other than this, I’m known as a “growing quiz master” and the basement to this was laid in TRICHY PLUS, the prime coaching institute for competitive exams in Tiruchirappalli. It was in a fine Saturday evening when the weekly quiz session was over and I approached a fine gentleman, the proprietor of TRICHY PLUS, Mr.Sivakumar, to show my interest in quiz. He asked me what made me to meet him. I told him what I wanted to do. He just looked at me and called all the staff of TRICHY PLUS, including Mrs.Savitri, his wife. I thought “This looks fishy. Let me say bye to him and leave the place.”
He told me to give hi-fi and introduced me to them saying, “We have got a new quiz master, who is going explore his talents in a widest possible manner.”

That was the first stone laid and today I’m one of the renowned persons in some colleges and among some IAS aspirants in Tiruchirappalli for conducting Quiz competitions.

Happiness is being a self motivator but, this cricket craze is a fan of Tony Greig and Ravi Shastri. They are my role models on how to speak or comment in the game, in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone.

Important moments in my life:
a. My quiz experience in TRICHY PLUS, Bishop Heber College, Holy Cross College and in Trichy Academy for Competitive Exams (TRACE)
b. Day of my result for getting admission into NIT-Tiruchirappalli.
c. Being a Post Graduate from NIT-Tiruchirappalli.
d. First day as an employee in AtoS India Pvt. Ltd.

“Every day is a challenge that’s to be accomplished within the ample 24 hours given by God!”IT in general stands for Information Technology but, for me it is “It’s There” Which means whatever I do it’s there in my mind, which turns information into technology.
I also discovered that i have a photographer inside me! This nature lover has ample photographs of his choice, which are interesting and are like by several people.

Contact Prashanth at: 8067436609 or prashanth.sr90@yahoo.in

Photography by Prashanth – all rights reserved by the photographer

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A big heart fulfills big dreams – story of Durairaj

I am Durairaj. I was born in Valikandapuram at Perambalur. My father is a farmer. I did my High school in Government high school at Valikandapuram. I studied Higher secondary at Government higher secondary school at Labbaikudikkadu. When I finished my Higher secondary school, i decided to study Hospitality Management. So I got suggestion from my uncle to study in State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology at Thuvakudi, Trichy. I applied and got a seat to study in SIHMCT.
While I was doing my third year Diploma in SIHMCT, I started planning for my higher studies. There was seminar conducted by Mrs. Savtiri Sivakumar from TRICHY PLUS with an International guest at our Institute. The seminar explained about foreign studies. After attending that seminar I wanted to know more about TRICHY PLUS and EDUCATION ABROAD. I went to TRICHY PLUS. There I met Ms. Nalayini, the counselor. She started to speak in English with me which I could understand, but was unable to give her a reply. So she had to switch to Tamil to converse with me.
I joined for IELTS coaching class at TRICHY PLUS. It was hard for me to even get 4.0 band in the classroom tests. Then i started to search for countries which did not require IELTS exam (few years ago). We decided upon Singapore. We found that At Sunrise Global Chef Academy was providing Diploma in Culinary Arts. I applied for that. I got an interview call. I attended that interview but did not get selected due to my poor English communication. Then Mrs. Savtiri Sivakumar suggested me take up classes in Spoken English and Soft Skill / Personality Development to improve my English and personal grooming. The classes were highly motivating and gave examples that could keep me positive throughout my life.
Then I got the confidence to reapply to At Sunrise, but there was no second chance for me. Ms. Nalayini suggested me to choose Hospitality Management but i couldn’t change my mind from Culinary Arts. TRICHY PLUS staff continuously spoke to me & motivated me. After a long struggle i change my mind to study Hospitality Management and applied for Nanyang Institute of Management. I got placed there to study Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Nanyang Institute of Management. The Education & experiences at the Nanyang Institute of Management was useful for me to learn more about Hospitality. The class was taken by experienced and very friendly staff. I finished my classroom education successfully. Then i got my Industrial placement in Thanying Restaurant at Amara Singapore. After i completed my Industrial attachment, i came back to India. Thanying Restaurant tried to recruit me back but the government did not approve my visa application. Than I tried to get job in other places. I got many opportunities in India, but I wanted to work abroad. So I moved to Mumbai in search of a job. After three month search, i got an opportunity from The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa. After having worked in The Westin, I was eligible to apply for my Singapore Visa once again. Than Thanying Restaurant was ready to take me again. I got approval for Singapore Visa.
Now i am working as a Senior Restaurant Executive in Thanying Restaurant at Amara Singapore. I am doing well in my job. My parents and friends are very happy and feel proud about my success. I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks to TRICHY PLUS………
“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers”
Contact Durairaj at – duraiveeramuthu@gmail.com

I QUIT MY I.T JOB – a photographer speaks

I was a born on the winter morning of 3rd December, 1989, in this beautiful Cauvery flowing land Tiruchirapalli. I was born in a lovely, loud, fun loving and giving family of four. My entire education and life till 2011 had revolved around the culture and the cities of the southern tip of India.

I completed my engineering in 2011 and started my career as an engineer in one of India’s leading IT companies. Though I started my career with artificially enforced passion with the herd culture (like any graduate in TN), later realized that my mind called on to something else. I started searching for ‘the something’ that would quench my thirst of fulfilment.

I was in a state of passion quest. It didn’t take me long before I realized that I was an admirer, an admirer of everyday happenings of life, an admirer of simple pleasures of life. I wanted to capture every moment that took my breath away and freeze them, freeze them for me, freeze for the ones who wanted, freeze them for general admiring and I did. I was bitten by a shutter bug. Yes, indeed I was and I have never been happier and accomplished in my span on this earth.

I don’t run by a single role model. As I get awestruck by simple pleasures of life, I get inspired by events and I get modulated by situation. I pick up the best qualities of the people I come across in different walks of life and try adapting them into my lifestyle. Lately I have discovered that travelling inspires me a lot, this way I am exposed to the world and made to realize how little I know of this mammoth complications knitted by social beings.

As of last week, I have quit my job as an engineer and started following my passion – “photography”. I am a firm believer in the fact that there is always an opportunity for the seeker and challenge for the innovator. And so, I never take account of them.

These are some of my pictures, that i have shot and are my favourite. If you see closely, each one will tell you a story :)…!

*The photographs above are protected under copyright law. Please do not copy or circulate without permission of the photographer.   

Contact Sivaraj R at siva31289@gmail.com, +91-9940866265​

 

Voyage towards success – story of Mr.Dhamodharan – “a Tea Estate Laborer’s son”

I am Dhamodharan Ramasamy, alumni of TRICHY PLUS. At present, I am in Republic of Armenia, studying two degrees in two different Universities in the capital city of Armenia. It is my highest pleasure to share my story to everyone through this paper. I hope that this narration would be an interesting one and somebody; somewhere would have come across the same pathway like me.

I am the third offspring after my brother and sister. We lived in one of the pleasant places of Coimbatore known as Valpaarai, where our parents are employed as tea estate laborers. They set a clear vision to raise us with good education, though financially our family faced a huge challenge. It was my aspiration to become a doctor right from the school days hence; I worked hard but could not acquire much competence. In 2002, I passed plus 2, but the results were not sufficient to enter into medical institutions. I decided to spend the next one year to improve my medical entrance score and secured 92% but it was not adequate.

In 2003, once again I failed to get the medical admission. This forced me to take an alternative decision to join Physiotherapy, one of the finest professions in health care. As a result, I had to shift to Trichy, the city I never ever visited. As my dreams were crushed, I was walking parallel with the life but not along with it like oil on the water. As days passed, the scenario was getting different because time made me to forget my regrets, largely due to the environment of Trichy, friends and seniors. I got really well along with my friends. There was an interesting turn in the journey, I fell in love with a girl. Initially, I felt that I  all my problems were over but I soon  realized that it was a terrible mistake. In 2008, all my friends who were supportive, including my love, had become dreadful chapters in my life. In a short period, I lost every one for which I have not been able to find a reason yet. All of a sudden, I became alone.

This loneliness had made an immense negative impact in my personal life. I went into the closed room; feeling isolated, grumpy, literally disillusioned and started to lose trust in everyone. Eventually, every one looked at me like a loser. Since time heals all the pain, my mind started to change.This time,I understood that not having a clear vision would be the reason behind all disappointments. It took approximately six months, to carry on to rewrite all pages in my life with a new expedition. Keeping all the failures aside, by the end of 2008,I got ready for a new contest. Higher education abroad was the new task and writing IELTS was the first milestone and TRICHY PLUS was the ground. Before entering into IELTS, I was in need of the basic communication skills, so I joined in VERBO-CITY course at TRICHY PLUS.

In fact, the classes were to improvise the basic communication skills; nonetheless, it was the perfect turning point in my lifetime. Thanks to TRICHY PLUS that made an immense breakthrough in my life. For a couple of months, I was out of my usual, boring and pointless routine. My maturity was drastically improved because I started searching meaning in each and everything. I was taught that even a stone has potential. Finally, the time had arrived to assess our personality by a test during the end part of the course. This was the incredible occasion inmy life because one of my peers and I were selected as having “Leadership” quality based on the score. This moment was the only reason behind all the success of my life until now. I was super charged, so confident and keen to bring out the potential in me. It should be mentioned here that a major part of the credit goes to Mr.Sivakumar and Mrs. Savitri Sivakumar, founders of TRICHY PLUS.

On the last class of VERBO-CITY, Mr.Sivakumar asked everyone about our interest to volunteer for a good cause. I raised my hand first in a matter of seconds, I was not aware of the objective of the project. After some time, few collogues of mine also showed their interest and during later part of the evening we were revealed to the objective of the task. The aim of the project was to donate an Electrical Ambulatory Chair to a fine gentle man who was an alumni of TRICHY PLUS and was in need of that service in order to acquire a job. The project was named as “Success Day”. For a period of one month, our team had run from pillar to post to make the success day successful. The sweet note to mention is that we collected huge cash (1, 25000 INR) and the left-over fund was donated to a trust which educates blind kids.

After the success of this event,I had a great emotional attachment with TRICHY PLUS that seems to be true and in return they offered me a job. In May 2009, I was given the responsibility to coordinate the “Summer Camp” that was designed to develop the soft skills of school children. I realized that once an incompetent teenager now turned to be a noteworthy man in a short period. In a loyal manner, I wanted to ascertain that I was the right person for the job, hence I nurtured the youngsters who enrolled in the camp. It was a great fun of one month and I am sure most of the students still remember me.

After such a beautiful and memorable time with TRICHY PLUS, it was time for me to depart to my native city. My next step was on the floors of  PSG Institute of Medical Science, as a tutor in College of Physiotherapy. I had a fine professional growth there. Even though, my essential expenses were not met, I was gratified by the duties and responsibilities given in PSG. This institution provided a wonderful background for the process of education abroad until 2011. During this journey, I met a fine gentleman Mr. John Peter who worked with me round the clock for my IELTS preparation. After joining hands with him, I had confidence once again that was given by TRICHY PLUS earlier. As a result, I cleared IELTS with an excellent score that led me to apply for the Higher Education in USA, Canada and New Zealand.

Surprisingly, I received an opportunity to study Medicine which was my life time dream, in Armenia. In 2012, I landed in Armenia to start my career (Medicine) at Yerevan State Medical University. This is a beautiful country, with different culture, new language and handful of friends made this life an exciting one. I turned to become highly responsible and focused on the academics. During the second year of medicine there was a pleasant turning point that I got an opportunity to do my Masters at the best University in this country known as American University of Armenia (AUA).

I joined Master of Public Health (MPH) at School of Public Health in American University of Armenia in September, 2014. Since then I have been studying two degrees in two different universities that is highly challenging but possible. As a reward for my hard work, I have been offered 50% scholarship for my studies and thanks to AUA. Life has changed significantly from a common medical student into all-time scheduled dual degree scholar. My knowledge is being consistently strengthened to the international standards that are provided by highly experienced faculty members who usually come from esteemed universities such as Johns Hopkins University, USA.

I understood that for everyone letdown in life, there would be a triumph in future that became true in my life. I am so thrilled to face the next phase of my life that would be surely the peak of this upward slope and on that, I would like to do a super specialty course in medicine. After becoming a highly skilled doctor, I will start my own evidence based medical centre in Tamil Nadu.I am looking forward for success in the days ahead.

I am thankful to the readers who were patient enough to read this short account of my life experiences

Contact : Dhamodharan Ramasamy, MPH II year, School of Public Health, Marshal Baghramyan Street, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia.

Contact number: 00374 94464964

Email: dhamodharan_ramasamy@edu.aua.am

 

THE SAGARIKKA FACTOR – From Change to Transformation by Sivakumar

 

Put a red car in a room flooded with yellow light, what is the car’s colour now? Yellow, isn’t it? However much the car is rubbed, the colour is still yellow. What should you do to bring back the original colour? Simple, take it out of the room.

Go through the same rigmarole and you become a grind of the mill. The same job, the same places of visit, the same eateries, the same food, the same movies and finally the same faces. Candidly speaking, what difference will this year make. We wake up on 1st of Jan, decide to exercise, save some money, read some books and by the 10th of Jan, we will get back to our normal state. We are back to where we are. The problem is with the word “CHANGE”. “CHANGE” will enlarge you, contort you, distort you, skew you but your resilience brings you back to where you are and you remain you. What is needed is “NOT CHANGE but TRANSFORMATION”.

Folks, we don’t want to take a trip down the Ego lane and share our minor successes and failures. 2015 was a year that we can never forget. We got a paradigm shift in parenting. Our “Teenaging kid”, had obtained mediocre marks in her 10th standard. The kid was confused and had no dreams, only fears. Was this time for us to advice her and push her down the beaten path? Instead, we asked her to “UNSKOOL” herself and explore life and savour it before her next step………. And what a journey it has been………

Her dreams made us trek as far as Mt.Kailash. We transformed into kids, touched by the fairy’s wand. We experienced the working of banks, hotels, BPO’s, industries and hospitals. We became management students again, talking about the intricacies of every business. Her curiosity took us to seminars from NASSCOM, IIM’s, CII, MMA to Book Club. She rekindled my interest in science & mathematics. We visited numerous Science exhibitions, understanding semi conductors, capacitors, aeroplanes, cars and power plants. Every evening is a journey, discovering the difference between Dot & cross product vectors, why matrices exist, why slopes are the essence of differential equations, how to build motors, why Physics works, how atoms and molecules talk to each other through Gibbs law and the design of orbitals.

Conservative people like us who stick to the world of Mutual Funds have taken a plunge into the world of stocks. We are on the path close to understanding Java applications, Android, IOS, animation and web design. Savitri is diligently working on her Zumba steps. Writing has become a part and parcel of our life. We are now known as bloggers. Funny, isn’t it?

In this journey we have met Film actors, movie directors, high court judges, writers, scientists, army generals, Artists, businessmen and industrialists.

We thank our friends and well wishers, who have supported us all along. People usually talk about mid-life crisis. I never knew this is what it would be. We have set ourselves on a pulsating journey, as we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We are discovering ourselves through this “Teenaging Kid”.

Needed a Sagarikka, to take us out of the room of yellow light and look at the world differently. We wish you all get a “SAGARIKKA FACTOR” which makes you TRANSFORM instead of the mundane change.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016

visit us at http://www.trichyplus.com

write to us at savitrisivakumar@yahoo.co.in

Meet a Bioinformatics student who met “30 Nobel Laureates”

 

  1. The Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting with Prof. Walter Gilbert who developed the DNA Sequencing methods
  2. Camel ride at the Canary islands
  3. Reindeer Safari in Lapland
  4. My Master’s Graduation ceremony

Let me first start with my childhood. I was born in Madurai and brought up everywhere. As my father was a bank employee, he used to get transferred every 2-3 years and we had been relocating with him. I studied in many different schools all over Tamil Nadu, which indeed gave me an opportunity to mix up with people from diverse backgrounds. Thanks to my mother, wherever I studied, she encouraged me to participate in all the competitions, which helped me to boost up my confidence.

When I was in my 10th class, we had a discussion about “Which group to choose and where to study?” Well, the direct questions were, if I should become a doctor or an engineer. I actually liked both computer science and Biology. Since we have a doctor (uncle) and 3 pharmacists (grandfather, uncle and aunt) in our family, everyone motivated me to choose biology. After endless discussions, I decided to study biology. So, my fate was decided then and everyone was looking forward to seeing me as a doctor. I was putting my utmost efforts to become a doctor. Unfortunately, my board exam marks were not as good, as I expected. Well, I secured 97.5, but the cut-off that was needed to get a MBBS seat under the government quota was 98.5 back then. Many of my relatives told me to get into some engineering college. Just because, I didn’t get a medical seat, I didn’t want to choose some random course and be happy with my life. My father always says, “Never do something that you don’t like”. I was very stubborn in my decision.

I took a break, stayed home for 1 year and wrote all possible medical entrance tests both at the state and All India level. I also used this time efficiently to interact with as many doctors and engineers as possible. One thing I figured out from their conversations was “They decided to become an engineer or a doctor, just because their parents wanted them to do so or their friends and relatives motivated them or they didn’t know what to do and chose to become an engineer”. After hearing their stories, I decided that I don’t want to be one among the crowd and I should do something different. At that point, I was happy that I didn’t get a medical seat and I didn’t choose some random engineering course that I was not interested in. Just to warn you that this is not the overall statistics. It is my perspective based on the few conversations; I have had with the engineers and doctors. I explored all possible career options with the help of resources that were available online and in newspapers. One morning, when I was having coffee with my father, he told me that he came across a course called “Bioinformatics – Solving problems in Biology with the help of computers”. I got so excited, as I wanted to study both biology and computer science. When I looked into career options for this course, I didn’t find many job opportunities in India. Since I liked the course curriculum, I opted for doing B.Tech Bioinformatics in SASTRA University. This is how I ended up in Bioinformatics.

When you have a passion for something, you will definitely excel in what you are doing. I was very happy during my B.Tech and kept my eyes open looking for opportunities. I went to many conferences, visited industries, attended many research trainings and worked as a summer research fellow.  I enjoyed all these experiences and wanted to be a Master in Bioinformatics.  I was in a dilemma with the questions popping up in my mind, “Where to do Masters? How to promote my career further ?”

When I was doing my 3rd year B. Tech, I got a chance to attend a Career Abroad program conducted by Mr.Sivakumar and Ms.Savitri in SASTRA. That was a life changing experience and I got to know about the Masters’ programs in many different universities across the globe. I was so excited and started preparing for GRE. In the mean time, I got placed in an IT company. I didn’t want to take up the job because I wanted to do masters. But then, the financial situation was not so favorable to start masters immediately after my Bachelor’s degree. Even my parents advised me to take up the job to gain some experience. To be frank, they were afraid to send me abroad initially. After all this drama, I started working with the intention that I will quit after 2 years. Though I took up the job, I used to think every single day that I should study Bioinformatics and shouldn’t work as a software engineer. I couldn’t handle this after 1 year. I made a bold decision to quit my job and apply for Masters.

Though my initial plan was to do my masters in US, I got to know from my friends that there are many exciting opportunities for Bioinformaticians in Europe. So, I sent my applications mainly to the universities in Scandinavia and Switzerland.  I had to wait for 6 months to get the decision from the universities.  I had no clues what to do during these 6 months and approached Shiva sir about getting a position in Trichy Plus. He immediately agreed and I started working there. I would say that this was one of the best experiences in my life. I really enjoyed interacting with students and helping them with their career growth. In fact, this job made me realize that communication skills are my strongest assets. Thanks to Siva sir and Savitri mam for being the mastermind behind the success of many students from Trichy. I feel so great to be a part of TRICHY PLUS.

Finally, after waiting for 6 months I got the admission letters from all the Universities, I applied. I chose University of Helsinki over other Universities because the Masters program is really flexible in Finland i.e you are free to do any course you like during your Masters, including the ones from other departments. Moreover, the quality of education is really good in Finland and it is free. Having all this in mind, I took the major step forward to accept my admission and moved to Finland.

Finland is very different from India, both climate-wise and culture-wise. I was shocked in the beginning. But then within a year, I got adapted to everything with the help of my friends.  Gradually, things turned out good and I got an opportunity to do my Masters thesis in a Pharma company, where I worked on developing new computational methods to assist the design of selective drugs for cancer targets. Overall, I was very happy with my research experience and wanted to continue further.

With the support of my research supervisors, I started a PhD in Computational Drug Discovery at the University of Helsinki in 2012. Even though I have been to many conferences during my PhD, attending the Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting, where I got an opportunity to meet “30 Nobel Laureates” in the field of Medicine and Physiology was a life changing experience. The mind-blowing speeches by the great legends changed the way I think and do research. This was indeed the happiest and the best moment in my life. Though my PhD journey has been quite successful so far, I faced many challenges.  The moment I think that my research is contributing to improve the strategies used in drug design, all these problems disappear like passing clouds.  As a PhD student, I think it’s just the beginning. I am looking forward for much more challenges and opportunities.

In addition to doing research, I have been traveling quite a lot for the past 5 years.  Every trip has been a memorable one, because of the interesting personalities I met during these trips. You learn only by experiencing things and meeting people. Whenever you get a chance to travel, utilize it.

Something that I learnt during these years, “Always pursue your passion. Success will follow you”. Whenever you are confused about making a decision, take a short break, devote some time for yourself and do what you think is right. Sometimes, it is good to satisfy others. But it’s your life. You need to decide, what is good and what is bad for you.

You can contact Vigneshwari at vignesh.bioinfo@gmail.com
https://fi.linkedin.com/in/vigneshwari-subramanian-10931749