Winter break is always an interesting time for me. I always go in with the highest of expectations for myself. I want to exercise and get back into shape, spend tons of time with my long-missed family and friends, and advance myself intellectually. But usually, I end up spending a lot of time on the couch watching daytime television, re-reading my favorite books from my formative years (this break was the Bartimaeus trilogy, and I truly hope I’m not the only one on here who loves those), and catching up on the movies I’ve wanted to see (…like The Hobbit, Les Mis, and Lincoln). But this break (shocker) I managed to actually accomplish something useful.
My advisor (the magnanimous Brian Hatcher) asked me at the start of break to look over the manuscript for his upcoming book. It’s a fascinating biography of an Indian religious reformer known as Vidyasagar, a title that roughly translates to “ocean of knowledge”. He fought for many causes, including allowing widows to remarry, fighting against high-caste polygamy, and raising the age of consent for marriage in colonial India.
So I managed to read it and put together some comments that I felt were halfway coherent. It’s a really weird situation to try to comment on something written by your professor and advisor who is clearly so much more experienced and knowledgeable than you are, but I really love editing so I dived right in. Once I recognized his voice in the writing, I realized it sounded just like the lectures and discussions we’ve had in class. He’s just another person, not some faceless author I’d never met. My comments became more like our conversations, and sometimes I even imagined and replied to his potential responses. It ended up actually being a lot of fun, and, for once, made my winter break productive. Did anybody else do anything fun over their break? Let me know in the comments!!