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A Week in the Life of Indrani

Picture for the Indrani Karmakar Postgrad diary

Indrani is a PhD student whose research focuses on the representation of motherhood in South Asian womens' writing, paying particular attention to the works of Mahasweta Devi, Anita Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri and Monica Ali. Her project investigates how their literary representations both reflect and reconceptualise the notion of motherhood in terms of gender, sexuality, female-embodiment and mother-daughter relationship.


The day starts with replying and sending a number of important emails (enquiring and applying for funds for conference) in my university email account. After having a quick breakfast, I head towards HRC, Berrick Saul building – my primary workplace in the university. This place is only for postgraduate students in Arts and Humanities. I spend quite a few hours at my desk reading and preparing for the next meeting with my supervisor while taking occasional break looking at the statue of Buddha, which I can see from my desk window. In the afternoon I have lunch with my friends and fellow PhD students. We have a light chat on everyone’s progress with their PhD project. I am back at home in the evening. After having a refreshing shower I take a light dinner. I spend two hours on my conference paper. Then it is bed time.


Today I have meeting with my supervisor quite early, at 9.30 in the morning. I head towards her office. We have meeting for over an hour, she reads my writing and gives her feedback. We fix our next date of official supervisory meeting, which is going to be my TAP meeting as well, where, along with my supervisor, a member of Thesis Advisory Panel will also be present and discuss my work and progress. After the meeting I quickly grab a sandwich and go to attend GTP (Graduate Training programme) which is compulsory training programme for post graduate research students. In the evening, I and two of my friends make a sudden plan to go to a pub nearby.


I have a web chat to attend today. This is organised by International Office to help the prospective students from South Asia. I go to a computer lab, where another students and staffs from the International office are also present. We log in the system and chat with potential students, helping them out with their enquiries. After this I go back to my desk and reply few emails as part of my voluntary position as Online Country Ambassador. Late in the evening I finalise my conference paper and do additional reading on my journal article and PhD project.


I wake up to a full cup of coffee made by my husband. Then I do some casual reading for the journal article, which I will be sending next month. In the afternoon, I and my husband put a joint effort to make two Indian dishes and a chocolate cake. Evening is well spent in a Skype chat with my family back home. After that, I make some work-plans for a potentially busy next week.


It’s going to be a busy day, I reckon. I go to my desk early, preparing both for my conference paper and my meeting. After having lunch with my friends in HRC, I go to my department to pick up some posters for ‘Writers at York’ event. ‘Writers at York’ offers lively reading programmes, workshops and explore the works by emerging and established authors. I help them organise the events in my possible way. Today I am going to put some posters around the campus for the next event. After an hour or so I attend a workshop on teaching organised by RDT for the PhD students who are hoping to teach from next academic year. It proves to be quite a useful session for a new comer like me. I continue my preparation for the papers until late evening.


I go to my desk rather late today and start working on my journal article and conference paper. I go to library, borrow quite a few books and return some as well. I focus on my conference paper today and aim to finalise the final draft by tomorrow. In the evening, I go to York Medical Society in city centre where the ‘Writers at York programme’ is held. I and my supervisor buy some wines and food for the programme. 


I do not go to my desk today and plan to have a rather relaxed day. I and my husband go to city centre to do some shopping and take a walk round the city walls by the blooming daffodils. In the evening we go for a dinner to an Indian restaurant in the city centre.