I was back in the States from late May to mid-July, visiting family and as many friends as I could fit into business trips. Then on July 15th I took a plane back to Mumbai. I was supposed to take a plane from Philadelphia to Newark, and then to Mumbai, but the connecting flight was inexplicably canceled. So, the trip had a hectic start as United Airlines gave me an Amtrak voucher instead to get to Newark. But I made it. The flight was 15 hours, but it passed pretty quickly as I worked on last season's DAI finale, watched a movie, and read some comics. There were very few obvious westerners on the plane.
I called Anupam, a colleague at IISER Pune, as I waited for my luggage in Mumbai, around 11pm. He gave the taxi driver my phone number, and so we made contact very quickly. I brought my luggage to his car, and we made the long drive to Pune. The highway from Mumbai to Pune becomes very crowded with trucks at night, and I was encouraged to sleep during the long stalls. But eventually I arrived at the Guest House, where I had been before.
My room is very nice; here is a video I made later on.
I live in a room in a suite on the 3rd floor of the building, and meals are served in a suite on the 6th floor. Aside from the two suites, the rest of the building is not affiliated with IISER. The IISER part is staffed by a Nepalese gentleman named Ramji, his two sons Mohan and Krishna, and a nephew. They serve vegetarian meals for breakfast and dinner, scheduled at 8am and 8pm. Lunch and tea are also available if I want.
|The path to the IISER Guest House|
The first talk was a welcome address by Shashi, the biologist who used to run the math department, and moreover handles a lot of business here. In this speech he introduced IISER Pune, and at one point mentioned me by name to the crowd as IISER's first international faculty. I'm getting used to that sort of thing.
As is usual with conferences outside my subject area, I didn't get much out it. But it was good to have a schedule and hang out with other travelers and eat catered food, so I was there for most of it.
I felt sorry for Kevin so I gave him some math problems to keep him busy. That week I was also handed a stack of paperwork to get me going. Some of it was amusing, so I copied it down for you.
Aside from forms to register my visa, and bank account forms and such, there was:
Oath of Secrecy:
I, ....................., having been appointed as ............. at IISER Pune, do swear in the name of God/ solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance and that I will discharge and perform the duties of my office to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment, without fear or favor, affection or ill will, and that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration.
So...I guess this means I can't give away...secrets. Is "matter brought under my consideration" legalese for "secret"? Is "any person" legalese for "any person not in on the secret"? Is DAI illegal now? Would you have signed this? Anyway as far as I know, no matters have been brought under my consideration...
Subject: Declaration regarding bigamous marriage:
I hereby declare that I have not entered into or contracted a marriage with a person having a spouse living, or who, having a spouse living, have not entered into or contracted a marriage with me.
Okay let me hurry up and post this; I have a lot of catching up to do!