Having lived and worked for thirteen years in Chennai at a research institute, one of the joys of working in IISER Mohali is that of seasons.
People joke that Chennai has only two seasons --- hot and hotter. This is probably a bit unkind since it does rain in Chennai --- in two separate spells during the year. Chennai-ites will also rave about the setting-in of the afternoon sea breeze and the way it lightens up the evenings even on the hottest of days. That said, there are a variety of seasons in Chandigarh/Mohali that temperate climes like Chennai cannot begin to match. The torrid summer winds that come from over the desert, the wet monsoon, the hot and humid months that follow the monsoon, the onset of winter, the cold and foggy winter, the bluster and drizzle of late winter, the beautiful flowers of spring, the onset of warmth that precedes summer, the dry and dusty summer --- each season is distinct and is interesting in its own way.
Yet, we are not here to talk about the weather. There is a different kind of rotation of seasons that is peculiar to a teaching institute.
At a research institute, there are essentially only three
seasons: the winter conference season, the summer workshop and
summer school season and the rest of the year. In the latter, one
day is more or less indistinguishable from another --- in fact,
when I stayed on campus in TIFR, even the weekends were
distinguished only by the fact that there was an occasional
Images'' movie or anAMA'' concert.
On the other hand, here at IISER Mohali, we have the new kids on the block period in July-August, followed by the tension of the first mid-term examination, then the quieter time of consolidation between the two mid-semesters (also the time for a lot of extra-curricular activities), the 2nd mid-semester and holiday season, then the hectic time before the final examinations (for the students) and after the final examinations (for the faculty). The all too short winter break is followed by the start of the new term and another semester which follows a pattern similar (but not quite identical!) to the first. The end of the second semester is followed by the convocation ceremony and the start of the summer term. Some colleagues go for collaborations abroad while others stay on to toil along with summer and project students over the summer. Then comes admission season and the start of the new academic year.
In addition to the above, there is an overlay of the seasons that undergraduate students go through, as fresh first year-ites, confident second year-ites who then choose their major and go excitedly into their third year with the chosen major, then sit in small classes with big course numbers in their fourth year and strut about as research students in their final year.
Indeed, the seasons at IISER Mohali are worth enjoying and celebrating.