From Doda to Bangkok: a two-year diary of an achiever

General Press Releases Tuesday July 15, 2014 14:38
Bangkok--15 Jul--Asian Institute of Technology

A young man leaves home and family to pursue a dream. Leaving his wife and three-year old son behind, he embarks on his anointed journey. Gushing family emotions and sobs do not deter him. With a mere 50 dollars in his pocket, he boards the flight, proceeding on a journey which he had earlier dreamt of. No, this is not around the world in eighty days.

But it is the journey of a young Kashmiri who wants to pursue his dream of studying at an elite institution abroad. This is ala Jules Verne; a story by Nasir Faridi, an AIT alumnus, who has now penned two-years of his experience at AIT in a new book titled “Away in the land of smiles: An AITan’s Diary.”

The journey begins on one cold winter morning in 1994 -- in fact on New Year’s Day, when Nasir left his hometown Doda, in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir. The 200-kilometer long journey takes him to his first destination, which was the city of Jammu, the winter capital of his province. Next evening, a train takes him to the Indian capital of New Delhi. And a day later, a flight takes him to the Thai capital of Bangkok. Finally, an airport limousine takes him to his academic capital -- the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

But this final destination is actually the first step in a two-year stint full of hard work, studies, assignments and seminars coupled with cultural shows, welcome parties, dormitory dinners and journeys to the countryside. The travails of a hard-working student, opportunities to study in an international environment, and exposure to cutting edge research are all encapsulated in this 36-chapter book spanning nearly 250 pages.

AIT is more than academics and research; it is a way of life. This way of life is dutifully recounted by Nasir. At AIT, one learns various new things -- ranging from computers to bicycles. Stories of mishaps and humour, savouring international cuisine on every occasion, travelling to various scenic parts of Thailand mix very well with his narration of classroom activities. The experience of interacting with multilateral organisations and international faculty are narrated with aplomb in the book. Also recounted are tales of his class fellows, batch mates and friends.

Between the blonde Hungarian senior to the bubby Chinese classmate are hidden tales of friendship. From watching Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters to discovering the travails of ‘thesis defence’ encapsulates the magic of AIT.

The book includes many sights and sounds which the AIT community can recognize. Faculty members like Dr. Preeda Parkpian, and Prof. Shunji Murai; and other members of the community including Dr. Jonathan Shaw, Executive Director, AIT Extension; Mr. Karma Rana, the Institute Secretary; and Mr. Somchai of the then Office of Media and Information Service (OMIS) are mentioned in the book.

The book is not only a testimony to AIT’s doting faculty, helpful staff, and the camaraderie among students, but is also a testament of of the detailed diary and notes of a diligent Nasir Faridi.
A proud father, a proud husband and now a proud AITian - that is Nasir Faridi for you.
Released on 1 May 2014, this book is available at Amazon:

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