Thursday, February 13, 2014

From Serious to Mellow...

This takes me back to the years when I was working on my graduate thesis in one of the universities in the States.

It was like me, and my advisor was a match made in heaven!

My professor Mr X was formally from Yugoslavia but had been living in the States for over a decade, and he was very particular about spoken dialect. 
Alas! Little did I know what the future was in store for me?

  But, it was not so bad in the beginning since our meetings would purely consist of exchanging journal papers and would usually conclude by exchanging common pleasantries such as "Thank you" and "Yeah! no problem"

His smile was pleasant and accepting and that made me confident since I could foresee a smooth ride ahead. (Yeah, right!)

Days turned into a month when I was supposed to give him an overview of the project prior to start working on it.

We were supposed to meet for this meeting in the Teacher's Lounge according to him, which I referred to as a Staff room according to British English.

During our session, my English was scorned upon since he had a particular understanding of certain words and their pronunciations. The scheduled hour long presentation turned into a gruesome three long hours of exchanging words for clarification. I don't know if I learnt much about Biochemistry, but my knowledge on American Language sure increased; as I was taking notes vigorously just to avoid a re-take on this situation in the near future. 

Since our meeting went longer than anticipated; the department was unaware of it and had dimmed the lights of the corridors. The result was panicking especially since I started looking for a torch and he kept referring to a flashlight. 

One day he finally realized how unnerving our meetings turn out to be. Thus, asked me to meet in the cafeteria so that the mood lightens up a little over food. I immediately agreed.  

Alas, when we sat down with our respective trays that contained chips, flapjacks according to me to which he kept referring to as fries and pancakes. It was another moment where I could not resist rolling my eyes.

My advisor's seriousness and articulation towards each spoken word made me adapt the American English in a couple of months since having a conversation with him was a challenge, and in order to move ahead in my research, that was the only road map I could see.

After a few years, when I had to defend my thesis, my friends and family noted a strange observation. 
I was speaking the American English, and he had a tinge of British English while delivering his conclusion speech!!

This new attribute of Mr. X unknowingly made him quite popular amongst International Students since, he had already got a taste of having a serious condition of being meticulous about American English and its accent.

His humorless act of correcting me all the time used to give me the creeps, but I would obediently follow. Although, needless to say, I had a tough time reporting my data to him even though it was all graphed out. 

I am happy that his condition of being serious all the time, fizzled off eventually and unknowingly; cause there is so little in life that is worth it!!

Mantra for today: The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” 
― Albert Einstein

This post is written for for #Condition Serious hain.

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