penThere is a saying in Hindi, “Jab upar walah deta hai toh chapad phad ke deta hai” (roughly translated as, when God gives, he gives BIG! in both a blessed AND over-powering sense) And so in that context I really feel I have a little more than I can handle on my plate.

For those who have been following this space know that I am rushing against time to finish my chapter two (I submitted my chapter one to my supervisor yesterday, yeah!). Yet I have also to present a paper for a conference at McGill this weekend. It is a Graduate Student Conference, bringing many of the Canadian (and US?) university Graduate students together to present on a pre-determined theme. Details:

The problem is that while what I am presenting is roughly within my research area… it is ONLY roughly within my research area. Which means I have to do some extra reading to come to speed with the topic. I still feel that I can finish the paper in a few days, because I have already done a lot of related research, but it sure feels like a pain to do somtehing “extra” when I am struggling to do my basic dissertation work.

But, the fact that my paper was selected among many applicants, and I am now one of 40! graduate students presenting… yes this conference is big… I know this can also be both a privilege and a learning experience (to be critiqued by fellow graduate students and also professors in the field of religious studies).

My paper is on the meaning of ritual, which I adapted from my dissertation study which is on the meaning of religion. And I am currently getting my grips on the research done on ‘ritual’. Not an easy task.

Nevertheless, the paper beckons and I feel I may have bitten more than I can chew (in terms of time). My only defense (for taking this on) is that I presented my proposal many months ago… not knowing what my personal academic situation would be like. Now I’m inundated in every sense. And my name, along with my article title and abstract, is already on the program. Perhaps there is a spiritual irony here somewhere.

So now I am forced to rely more on God’s grace. And hope to do a good paper. And then make up for lost time to work extra hard to complete my chapter two.

One positive thing I can take from this (at the moment, apart from the obvious “this exposure will be good for you” retort) is that I am already getting some more good ideas for my chapter two (as if I didn’t have enough already!).

Well… anyway… back to work, back to work.