However, I realize that there was actually a veritable horde that wanted to add me to their trophy chest. Although it went on for most of the last two years, the last two months in particular saw several people on Facebook whom I had never met trying to befriend me, ostensibly for the same reason i.e., to build up their contacts. I have consistently ignored them, with some valid exceptions.
However, I do realize that this will no longer do. While many Indians think that networking is an MBA phenomenon, it is actually a crucial part of doctoral studies and preparation for an academic career. I will probably have to finally harness my vast digital footprint, maybe even join LinkdIn at last. This is not just about attending seminars and conferences - those are essential in any case - but about following them up, creating a network of acquaintances. The last word is essential - I am still very skeptical about any new friends, and certainly none in my inner circle, but the so far neglected category of acquaintances will have to be expanded.
I have been reading PhD Comics and, while I do realize that it is just a joke, it is clear that grad school is going to be very different from undergrad. Certainly, the same principle will not do.