1. What makes the ordinary person to be so vibrant? Where do you get this energy form?
I don't think I am. But I want to be like that. Multitasking is my passion. I have developed this attitude since my school days. My parents engaged me with lot of activities and that kept me busy. At present, I have reduced my activities as PhD research has taken up first priority in my life. But I still am working on getting back to the field.
2. Share your experiences during your Jammu to participate in the National Seminar during last November 2015.
Yes. It is one of the most memorable and amazing experiences in my life. Since I started my research activities I have attended various conferences, workshops and seminars. Of course, it is a part of the curriculum. Last November 1st to 3rd of 2014, the University of Jammu, Department of Statistics had organized the "Indian society of medical statistics (ISMS)" conference, titled "Recent Advances in statistical methods and their Application in Health Sciences", in Jammu. I had a wonderful time in Jammu. I have been continuously participating in the ISMS conferences for the past three years.
I started my journey to participate and present the research paper in the conference only due to the encouragement of our Management, Dr. Venkatraman, Vice president, Education and Training, my guide and my family.
3. Tell us about this unusual venture and your interest in this regard.
Unlike other conferences, this journey had really given me a new experience in my life. Due to many reasons, my friends and research scholars from my institute were not able to attend the conference; some of them had cancelled their schedule at the last minute. I had great doubts about going to Jammu, but my husband and my family encouraged me to attend this conference. On 29th October 2015 early morning 6.10 am, I started my journey to Jammu alone by train. I travelled almost 2 1/2 days before reaching Jammu on the 31st October morning at around 10 ‘O’ clock. The conference started on the 1st of November 2014 and I made the presentation on the same day.
As soon as I finished my presentation, the team delegates from various states suggested some places for sight-seeing. I didn't have much idea about Jammu, but came to know that "Vaishno Devi" temple was an important tourist spot and it is a place of pilgrimage. I felt excited when I heard about the significance of the temple and also heard someone telling me that I must visit this place as I came from the southern region. The Mata Vaishno Devi temple was situated at an altitude of 5300 feet above sea level, and at a walking distance of almost 15 to 18 kms. When my husband heard about my plan to going there, he refused and asked me how I was planning on walking that distance through stairs and sheer road? He told me to drop that idea.
I took it as a challenge. When thousands of people are able to go everyday with belief in their hearts and plenty of wishes, then why not me. Then I decided to start my adventurous trip. One of my team delegates starting asking me a list of questions, "Madam! Do you believe in god?", "Have you climbed Thirupathi hill or any of the pilgrimage located on hills before?" etc. Before I could reply, he said "Madam, if no, it will be a tough experience for you". I thought to myself that this one thing was enough to kindle my self-esteem. A team of 10 members from various states (among them only two were women including me) started our trip. At around 3 am our journey began from Jammu. After 2 hours of travelling we arrived at a place called "Katra". From Katra there were four modes of transport available to reach Vaishno Devi temple: one is by walk; second by horse; third by helicopter and fourth one by palanquin (elderly people were using this mode of transportation). We decided on the first mode and started to walk from “Katra”. First 4 kms we walked in smooth and flat surface by seeing the shops and buying some foods. Some of my team decided to take horse for climbing the hill to the temple. Within one hour we felt tired. Often we took drinks, snacks and continued our walk.
The pathway to temple is constructed in a well planned manner. Street lights, benches and roofs are furnished throughout the distance from Katra to Vaishno Devi temple. Cleanliness is also maintained. During this travel, many aspects attracted me and the procedures taken by the devotees surprised me. As a matter of fact, I had not visit any pilgrimage before. Here I should mentioned that in northern region the location of pilgrimage or the way of praying God seems to be tough and difficult compared to southern region. Though, we have places of worship like sabarimalai, thirupathi, palani, etc., this temple was three times (or more than that) higher than those.
What amazed me was that thousands of devotees' aged between few months (new born baby) and more than 80 were moving upward and downward throughout the day. While we were moving upwards the weather started to become chill turning the energy level down. As time passed our legs refused to step forward and demanded rest; in this there is no difference between male and female or devotees or others. All of them bought a stick as support for walking. After consistently walking for 12 hours, i.e. at around 3.00 pm we reached the temple. In fact, I was eagerly waiting to see the “Vaishno Devi” deity and saw that there is a drastic difference between the appearance of our Goddess (south Indian) statue and the north Indian Goddess. We ate our dinner only after getting the wishes of Goddess "Vaishno Devi". As soon as we finished our dharshan, we hurried back to my room in Jammu; even I did not have that much of energy left. After an hour's rest we had started to walk back. Believe it or not, we felt that we lost our control of our legs, every tissue of our legs felt pain and we were not able to move our legs step downwards. We tried to walk as fast as we could but the distance seemed infinite. We lost confidence about returning to our place on time.
At around 9.30 pm we reached Katra. In fact we returned 2 hours earlier than our onwards journey took us. As soon as, we reached the Katra bus stand we all felt like crying out in relief. Whenever, people asked about the trip, I advised against walking to Vaishno Devi and told them to take one of the other three options. But one thing was that the people, who listened to my experience, said that I have completed one very important task in your life. Of course, I don’t think I will get such an experience ever again and also felt that I have to see Sabarimalai and Thirupathi (other religious pilgrimage also) at least once in my life.
4. In the present scenario, do you think the woman folk have achieved everything?
Yes of course. There is no doubt about it. Women took part in all kinds of work and helped men since long time in all the fields. From agriculture to astronomy, kitchen to boardroom, taking care of family to maintain law and order, she has been proving her Excellence even when faced with very minimal opportunities. To prove their full potential, women should walk more and more miles in the path to progress to create an unruffled pathway for the next generation.
5. We came to know about your proficiency in karate. How has this art helped you in your daily life?
Yes. I hold a black belt in karate. I started learning Martial arts from a very young age. In those days, only few girls had showed interest in learning karate. My parents believed that girls must learn martial art like karate for their self defense. At that time, when I joined the karate school there were only three girls in my class. Karate taught me self confidence and discipline; it helps me to enhance my physical and mental strength. According to me, everyone, especially women should learn at least some form of Martial art for their self defense and fitness.
6. You have any innovative ideas for the development of students in general?
According to me, we can make any social reforms or development in society through classrooms itself. Now-a-days, people have started to think about the changes in the field of education. From the concept of Mark oriented education we have started moving to job oriented and knowledge oriented education, which is a good improvement, but there is a chance that it will lead to producing money minded and self centered individuals. As far as I am concerned, we should move further onto socially oriented education.
Thank you Prof. Bose for giving me an opportunity to share my Jammu experience and my views on education in general…