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A Project Grant from Nature! by Salman Abdullah

What i am going to divulge may come as a surprise to my colleagues. I have recently secured a project from Nature. Well... it had been sanctioned for quite a while but the project officially started on 13th of July 2016. Congratulations were in order as my friends and colleagues knew what i was anticipating. The project commencement ceremony was marked by mixed emotions of fervor, zeal, ecstasy and an inexplicable sentiment which couldn't be put to words but best described by tears rolling down the cheeks...

A few days into the project and i found myself untangling the enigma…….what was the motivation of the project? Within a couple of days this thought was eluding me like Ninetales in the Illusion Forest, refusing to be caught.

I decided to compose myself and find a way out with the complex project management. The main objective of the project was clear but there was no headway with the motivation, interestingly. The very first motivation became clear the very first week i was awarded the grant…..How to sleep for only a few hours in a span of one week? Yes you got it right, Nature awarded me the most generous and an eternal grant but i had to take the exercise of none other than the ordeal of parenting to reap the rewards…..

Parenting is giving me sleepless nights and tiring days, a roller coaster ride on the tides of joy, vibes of optimism and at times fits of pessimism. My scientific way of thinking could just not take me forward and i could only guess for the next move the little has to make. My own mind rattling on the road to discovery, every moment of parenting so far brings you surprises, the zest of unfolding a christmas box, knowing your precious gift awaits your grab but you can’t have your present just before the right time…… mais ce la vie (But this is life). It brought with itself the joy of one more bundle of joy expecting me every evening when i finished work and returned back home. It brought the joy of caressing the little bundle, feel its warmth and appreciate the joys life has to offer with every passing moment.

But time, they say wait for none. You never see this relentless ticking pause, you can't see the crest it may bring you or the trough it just dragged or can you? I would opine in positive. My lips unzipped into a boomerang when i swept my eyes across the Bounty portrait i was gifted at Sheffield Jessop Wing the day i got my Nature’s grant. My jaw dropped when i slipped my gaze across to the latest snap i am going to put in the “four months” slot in the “My First year” frame. It was now that i realized my little one had spent 1.03x10^7 relentless ticks with us.

He has however emerged a victor from this long battle and has refused to yield into submission. He would still not want to be swaddled, would never stop chewing my digitus secundus, somehow convinced that's his teether. Would never let me sleep at night and would never stop complaining of almost everyone who's not his mother…

Well so much for now, I guess, he has accorded me enough liberty and as i am wrapping up my pen labour, i hear sobbing somewhere from thedepths of the crib in the corner, his courtesy, never surprises me with a sudden outburst. And now the whining and am sure everyone knows what follows. As i brace myself to slip into the overindulgently cosseting mode, i remember a facebook post: “You think PhD is difficult, try parenting”.

If you have held onto your patience all this way to this moment, you deserve to know this grant was not sanctioned by the Nature publishing group, it was mother Nature!.

Mon 07 November 2016