We arranged one international workshop in the month of January, 2008. I was then at IASST, my previous research institute. All the resource persons were from the different places of outside India and most of the participants were also from the different places of all over the world. So it could be imagined easily about the situation we faced at that time, because handling the foreign delegates was not an easy task for we people. Some participants only understood the language of mathematics, nothing else. They even did not try to communicate with the local organizers about the problems they faced at the venue. They simply ignored everything and tried to be involved with the classes all the time. They could not digest neither the spicy recipes nor the authentic Assamese dishes. Some of them passed their days only by taking some juices and fruits and while some of them tried to eat the Chapati and other boiled vegetables.
After all, we arranged the international workshop for the foreign delegates and we the Indian participants enjoyed every thing arranged for them..from food to the other activities. What we have seen in the foreign participants was that they were very much curious about the natural beauty of Assam. For them only, we arranged one Kaziranga trip in the month of January only to show them the famous one horned rhino. We got surprised in seeing their spirit to meet our pride in the early of a freezing morning in the month of January. Besides mathematics, they enjoyed a lot the zeep safari in Kaziranga. Some of them planned to visit the upper Assam with our Brahmaputra. We stopped their plan mentioning the dangerous matters they could face in the midst of Brahmaputra….just imagine their spirit.
There were lots of funny incidents we faced with the foreign participants. My senior got the duty to drop Oladipo, the Nigerian participant who hardly interacted with the people. Oladipo kept himself aside of every thing. He simply watched the people around him at the lunch breaks or coffee breaks. One day he accompanied one of my seniors at the breakfast. Surprisingly he was taking only a cup of coffee and nothing else, whereas my senior’s plate was full with aloo paratha, eggs, chole, other snacks and fruits…Oladipo kept watching my senior at his plate. Finally he asked my senior that whether he took such type of meal every day at morning. My senior told him that we the Indian generally took our breakfast heavily, then we started working the whole day and at night only we took again some food. In between we did not take anything, we only worked all the day.
We did not know how much Oladipo believed his statement…but he just showed his response.
But more interestingly, at the lunch time also Oladipo sat with the same senior. At that time my senior started his lunch with a full plate of chicken, fish, rice, chapati and every thing served on that lunch. Oladipo was surprised to see my senior taking such type of lunch after having a heavy breakfast that morning itself. There was nothing to be replied for my senior to Oladipo. He quietly kept himself busy with his lunch.
My senior was asked to drop this Oladipo at the airport. On the way to the air port, Oladipo bought 7 pairs of shoes at Khadim’s show room, Paltan bazar, within only 5 minutes. All the sales men were busy with Oladipo, he was so hurry at that time that he even did not choose the shoes, he simply collected them from the shoe shelf. What a horrible moment for all the persons around there!!! My senior got relaxed while Oladipo got the boarding pass to his destination.
CMFT workshop was mainly organized by the Computational Mathematics and Function Theory, an international mathematical journal published from Germany. S. Ruscheweyh (Würzburg) – Managing Editor, was the convener of that workshop. He managed every thing very well. His main strength was his partner Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharya, who is a gem of our home land. Meenakshi madam was previously at IASST, then IIT, Guwahati and finally shifted to Germany. For Meenakshi madam, everything should be perfect and well organized. If she found any thing wrong with the arrangement, she started doing every thing without the members of the organizing committee. At that time, no body was brave enough to protest against her. She did not believe at the eleventh hour’s work. Whatever she would do, she planned it early.
We got surprised to see the spirit of working of Meenakshi madam. She never judged the works to be big and small. If there was none, she started to clean the big seminar hall herself. She never waited for any one to do the work. If something was to be done yet, she finished it, no matter what was the work. Standing on a table, she started decorating the flowers for the next day’s function, because at that the other people were busy with some other works. She arranged the chairs, she cleaned the whole seminar hall and at the dinning hall also she served the participants. Every thing she managed very properly.
When the workshop was finished, she properly acknowledged every one also giving the vote of thanks. What I had learnt from her was not to judge the things as big or small. No work should be categorized as big and small, work is after all work.