Farewell to thee Stephen Hawking

Farewell to thee Stephen Hawking

Vijai Kumar Suriyababu's photo
Vijai Kumar Suriyababu
·Mar 14, 2018·

7 min read

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I was a below-average student in my school days. I was never in the top 5. I just got by doing the bare minimum. When I lost both of my grandparents (whom I loved and adored more than my parents), I was heartbroken, empty and didn’t know what to do with my life. I had to leave my friend circle when I eventually felt that I had outgrown the days of childhood and countless hours of video games.

I then looked for something meaningful in life to do. I got a little deep into my studies from the second year of University. During third year break at University, I decided to travel to Bangalore and do some CAE courses. I thought it would improve our chances of doing something practical in the consequent semesters and get a job after graduation. The institution we studied at barely knew how ICEM CFD worked. I couldn’t get a solid grasp of the concepts. I came back disappointed. I thought I wasn’t cut for computational science. Once I reached my final year, the head of our department introduced me to our Dean, who was an expert in computational fluid dynamics. I worked on my final project under his guidance. I truly loved every minute of it right until the moment at which I got the expected results in my project.

I had gained some confidence in my undergraduate research work. Hence against all odds, I decided to pursue my masters by research and do some groundbreaking work on the same research problem. I had reasonable success in my quest. I struggled a lot during my masters days primarily because of the massive cloud of depression that always seemed to follow me (and it still does sometimes). I never felt I was good enough to break into the big league. I had nobody to inspire me at this point. This is when I saw the movie “Theory of Everything”. I realized that Hawking had all odds stacked up against him and yet lived the life to its fullest. To this day, I can’t forget the quote from the movie.

However, difficult life may seem; there is always something you can do and succeed at.

This was carved deep inside my skull and always looked for something to learn. I always tried to outdo myself. I always aspired for something better.

I then landed a job as a developer in a grid generation company itself (something I couldn’t even do a few years ago). I thought I had it all. I was the guy who got hired by a company and started working even before thesis defence. Everyone was proud of me, and I thought I had reached a peak in my life. A few months into my job, I realized there was something wrong. The company that I adored, loved and respected (still do) was not fair to everyone. It had heavily leaning favouritism towards one employee, and I happened to work under him. The place which gave me the confidence that I could achieve greatness in life slowly started to act as a catalyst for my ever-growing feeling of insecurity. The person I respected so much and looked up to became my reaper. He was the least bit interested in my improvement/learning and management of the company enabled (and still does) his behaviour. I realized at this point that I had to leave. If I didn’t go sooner, then I would be branded as a hack who doesn’t know anything. I realized that I had to put myself in an environment that would be more interested in teaching and helping me.

I was given an opportunity one more time in life and theoretically its precisely what I was looking for. Hence I decided to part ways from the current workplace. It was not easy to part ways, but it had to be done. I have a lot of hope and expectations that everything should fall in place correctly and, I find myself in an actively encouraging and helpful work environment. I have not mentioned this move to many people because I am leaving far away from everyone and goodbye’s aren’t always easy.

Fast forward to today (14th March 2018); my world was shaken completely when I saw the news that Hawking has passed away. My North star is gone. I don’t know who will inspire me now in challenging situations. But I know that there will always be another. Unlike the real North star, when it comes to life, people you look up to often change due to one reason or the other. It is upon ourselves to find an inspiration to fight back and go forward on a day to day basis. My inspiration and motivation towards life have always changed with time. But the only constant along this process has been my thirst for knowledge and greatness in life. It has always been a constant. I always wanted more. I know that Hawking’s legacy will motivate me to break more grounds and achieve a lot more greatness in life. Farewell to the Professor!

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