In a blog post from 2009, Datta describes how he had been buried in his studies for weeks, preparing for his preliminary exams:
“It’s been a while since I stared at the stars at night,” he wrote. “I happen to stay in a place that is quite far from the pollution that impedes us from seeing what is out there Having said that, I don’t remember the last time in Pullman I actually looked up.”
He used to star gaze as a small boy in Calcutta, he wrote, but eventually the sky became too polluted with dust. That wasn’t the case in Pullman.
“It’s the mind that has been dusty,” he wrote, and he chided himself for not stopping to look up “and enjoy the beauty of the vastness, where every twinkle is like a drop of breath.”
Others counseled him to quit his job as an assistant professor of business at Illinois State University and devote himself to art.
Jessup, dean of the Eller College of Business at the University of Arizona, said he and Datta continue to collaborate on research questions related to his dissertation.
While Datta had to put painting on hold for the past few years, he did make time to sketch. The last sketch he completed in Pullman was a pencil drawing of Jessup, which he gave to his mentor after graduation.
Since leaving high school, Datta said, he has had very little time to paint. In addition to his Ph.D. from WSU, his academic vita includes an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of London and a master’s degree in information systems management from the University of Hawaii. At the same time he was earning his Ph.D. at WSU, his wife, Priyanka Aich was earning her master’s degree from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.
|Datta and Aich|
“I missed it,” he said, simply.