Rendezvous with Dr. Chanchal Narang, Assistant Professor, UILS

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Chanchal Narang

Life: it is just not a word but an epic in itself. A journey up and down the hill. The hill, being life itself.

This episode of Person in Focus is dedicated to all my friends who are in the middle of their educational courses, or have just exited the same. You all must be wondering, aaj iska mood philosophical kyun hai? Don’t worry, the mood is in its muse. We are in the process of generating content and memories to look back upon when retrospection surrounds us.

So, miei cari amici, I present to you all- the achiever, the realist, the emotional, the practical, the believer, the fearless and our very own Prof. Dr. Chanchal Narang: Ms. Equilibrium, in retrospection. Recollecting her different seasons of life and sharing with us her irreplaceable emotions and experiences from her journey till now.

People visit religious places for peace. But she says, work hard, stay true to yourself and you’ll be at peace. Yes, it sounds easy, but it is easier said than done.

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 But if you strive hard and stick to it, then the real life example is the professor herself. You feel depressed? Approach her. Need motivation? Look up to her? Need help? Simply ask her, she is always there for you.

Just make an effort and all your problems will vanish with the blink of an eyelid.

She gives you a straight jacket formula for success. What is it? Well, find it out in the following conversation:

Why English?

I was a student of non medical in my final years of school and I did put in a lot of effort in studying those subjects. However, I topped in English in my boards in Panchkula district and that is when my father advised me that “you should always follow your natural flare and do what comes to you naturally”. I heeded to that advice and pursued the same in my undergraduate course where I specialised  in English, studying English Compulsory, English Elective, English  Functional and English Majors i.e. Hons. in English. This has made a lot of difference in my life.

Ma,am what does UILS mean to you?

UILS means a lot to me. With its birth, I started my personal and professional life. It gave me an identity and I owe everything I am to it. My happiness belongs in it because it gives me professional satisfaction when I teach English to future lawyers. If I am ever given an offer to teach in any other department, probably I will not be happy. The use of language and literature in a profession  is what differentiates it from teaching in other departments like English, where it is simply English.

The application of English is very satisfying, which I have learnt over the years

If not English then where do you think you would have been?

Media had always been a back up. In my college days, i used to dream about being a news reader on BBC one day. I had a lot of exposure to camera those days. I have also done my masters in journalism. My father always taught me, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” So, if this wouldn’t have materialised then of course, Journalism would have been the field- reporting and editing probably.

If given a chance to replace the protagonist of any literary piece, whom would you like to replace?

Pride and Prejudice remains my all time favourite and I feel Elizabeth Bennett is a character with whom any girl would relate to and would love to replace. That is the beauty of the depth with which the character has been portrayed and sketched. So probably yes, Miss Elizabeth Bennett- sharp, intelligent and strong minded. These are the virtues which every well reasoned person has, I wouldn’t say only a girl. Although, she has her prejudices but that’s okay, if you have mind,  you will apply it.

In your journey from college to university, which professor inspired you the most?

I feel every professor, every teacher has contributed to my success. All my college teachers taught me something. I got an opportunity to go back to my college and teach and it was very enriching. I learnt how to teach from my teachers. Even in my university days, in the English department, I have deep regards for my teachers. My own supervisor, Prof. Gyan Verma, is a very humble and down to earth woman. She had this style of teaching wherein she related everything with reality. That is the style which I have tried to imitate from her.

Your life’s highest achievement.

Personally, being a mother for the first time was definitely my life’s highest achievement. However, when I had my second daughter in hands- that was very special. I am a second daughter myself, and the moment my father saw her, he said, “may she have a luck like you”. It meant a lot to me and when I took her to my parents’ house, my father showed her the whole house as if she’s understanding everything. That was very special.

Professionally, there have been many moments- from completing my Ph.d degree  to having a Ph.d degree for my students. Authoring a book was another one.

Then, representing my country in Bangkok was also an achievement I cherish. I presented a paper in social sciences. It was Hong Kong International Conference On Social Sciences, to which I was the sole representative of my country from the field of languages and literature. I had presented a paper on how to teach literature to the students of law. I was also given an offer to collaborate by various universities. It was professionally very satisfying.

Your lowest point in life?

My father suffered a heart attack once, when I was in my second year of college. He survived and everything went off well. But that moment was very tough. At that time, i used to have a dialogue with god, why me?. But I think you grow deeper. My faith intensified after that.

You know, I would not call it the lowest point in life because, in retrospection, it gives you strength. Something which we consider very low is actually not so. It’s a boost for your future life.

Which family member has the highest influence in your life?

Initially, it was my father but I loved and respected my mom even more when I became a mom myself and now I think my daughters are completing me. It’s a change and a very difficult answer. All my relations are very special. My mother in law has taught me patience. She has a lot of control on her temper. My friend Sasha, in the department, is a very strong pillar of my strength. She influences me with her boldness.

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What is your fitness mantra?

These days life is very stressful, so one should learn to manage stress and it is all about MANAGEMENT. Along with that, some physical fitness one must undertake and for that I love going for long walks. That is a very big stress buster. “Be Positive, Manage Stress, and Workout!”

If you are made a student of UILS for a few moments, then what would be the first thing you would do? (I assure you, attending lectures wasn’t a part of it!)

Living a life of anonymity is fun! I would probably run to the cafeteria or the stu-c. I never freaked out in my college days. I always indulged in books. Library used to be my favourite haunt because in the kind of college I studied, I was the only girl in arts and was totally deprived of the company of girls. I yearn for a good group of friends. So, if you grant me this wish then please let me have a like minded friend with whom I can escape and freak out!

What would be your plan of action if you are made the director of the department for a day?

UILS is a very big department. We have a strength of 1200 students approximately and the headship of every institution is a very big responsibility. It is very easy to criticise but, when one occupies a chair, only then one understands the enormity of it all. We all are  adults and I feel focus should be laid on the moral side. Probably, I would start something like a prayer in the morning for some conscience pricking, a mirror should be shown to us.

We are heading towards indiscipline and degradation of academic quality. Inside awareness can only come when you are given some introspective time. Then only change is possible.

What’s the best part about UILS that makes you want to come here daily?

My class gives me a lot of energy. I see the idealism in their eyes. My students teach me a lot. I grow as a person everyday. My students have reached a position after going through tough competitions but, unfortunately, some lose focus because of lack of self discipline. They go astray. For me coming to UILS is a source of happiness. I always tell myself that the day I stop enjoy teaching, I will stop teaching.

Name

A song which makes you want to dance- any punjabi song; Bind Rakhiya’s songs… i love those.

An adventure sport you would love to do but at the same time are very afraid to do it: paragliding and scuba diving.

A movie you have watched for more than 5 times: 3 idiots and Bahubali (as a student of literature I have learnt a lot from it. Not to forget the  dialogues and the character depth)

One dress you would wish to wear but are somehow not able to: I wish to wear any kind of western dress which looks good on me.

Describe yourself in three adjectives: Sensitive, Impulsive and Emotional.

Your philosophy of life: Live in the moment. Put your best in the moment. If you are working earnestly, then there’s no need to go any temple or gurudwara. WORK IS WORSHIP.

Any message for your students?

The only message to my students is to believe in themselves. If you can answer yourself at the end of the day then you are going right. Also, listen to your parents. You will never come across any better well wishers in life than them.

I’m very sure that all of you must have learnt a good piece of advice from her and you will definitely incorporate it in your routine. Talking about myself, when the interview ended, I left the room inspired and motivated and for that I thank you, ma’am for not only  sparing some time for us, but for your effort to put across some direction and guidance in our lives.

And, to all my lovely readers, the phrase used in the beginning: ‘miei cari amici’ is Italian which means, MY DEAR FRIENDS!!

-Simran Syal

Edited by Mrinaal Datt

Read more about them here.

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