Sunday, August 1, 2010

Balancing act

You are happily playing with a ball, by yourself . Throwing it up in the air, and catching it. Suddenly, someone shoves another few balls in your hand. You know you cannot drop any! You struggle. With immense concentration - and, you are just managing to get the hang of juggling them; when, you realise you are on a unicycle. You have to keep peddling, 'cause, if you stop, you fall down and so do the balls you are juggling. You keep going - out of will power. And, as you go forward, you approach a tight rope. You can't stop, so you ride on to it. The audience looks at you and marvels at how you are managing to balance. You look down from your high perch, and feel very scared and very lonely. And, you wish you were in the audience, looking at another circus performer. But, it's your balancing act and you have no choice but to perform - and perform well.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Sorry folks, getting some spam comments with chinese characters, which leads to horrible links. Unable to stop spamming even with word verification. So, have implemented comment moderation. Hope this reduces the spamming.

Have nearly 4 posts composed n waiting to be published. Shall do so asap.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The thrill of something new...

Applied the new design to my blog.. and I am mighty thrilled about it!! Something new never fails to excite me - the new -20 freezer in the lab, a new set of pipettes, a new cuisine, a new soap to try, a new kurta to wear.. There's a strange thrill, a sense of a tiny adventure associated with something new.

Reminds me of what Prati once said - "You are like a kid- always thrilled with something new. But, as I think of it, I see something new in the everyday things; and I don't need a novelty to give me that thrill!" How true. When something is new, we look at it with wonder. Soon, comfort replaces the awe; familiarity breeds contempt and, we stop marveling at it. How nice it would be , never to lose that marvel, never to outgrow the charm of everyday life....

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Realisations.. things that strike you suddenly, not the kind that Buddha had sitting under the Bodhi tree for years.

Realisations ....

That I am slowly becoming a "grown-up", whether I like it or not...

That most of my BSc batchmates are married and have had babies!

That as a kid I thought at 25, people are mature, responsible adults; and now that I am that venerable age, I don't feel anywhere close to it!

That perhaps all the 'adults' whom I was pissed at as a kid, were also individuals with similar confusions like mine, and I was wrong in being judgmental.

That it's been 3 years since I left IIT - it doesn't feel that way, and yet at the same time, it feels like it was in another universe!

That in spite of all the promises made, I am slowly drifting apart from the best friends I made while at IIT - and it is, but, inevitable.

That I had left IIT saying I would work on protein folding, and, though my lab is a protein folding lab, I am probably the only one there who doesn't do any biophysics!

That it's been 2 whole years into my PhD and I haven't done much about it.

That I started writing the blog under an assumed name since I wanted it to be a place where in I could pour out all feelings, and give the link only to people whom I would be comfortable sharing these thoughts with. But, with the blog gaining publicity, I think twice before typing a post. Maybe I need another personal blog...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Feeling hot, hot, hot...

This year has been by far the earliest and hottest summer Bangalore has experienced, with max temperature reaching 34 to 36 deg C . The light showers which come every year around Shivaratri were markedly absent this year. By the end of feb, namma bengaluru was resembling the Macbeth witches' cauldron. And, why not? After all, this is the first year after the massive tree felling in the city. Trees have been cut near Race course road, for road widening; in front of the insti for road widening and a crazy underpass; and almost everywhere in the city for the elusive Metro. It is but natural that Nature retaliates. We shall face the brunt of this thoughtless act. Next year might be worse. At this rate of indiscriminate and thoughtless tree chopping, the 'Garden City' might be a thing of the past :(

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Have been Happy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful and Sneezy this month. Am Grumpy today. When do I get to be Doc?? :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's rather curious, you know, this sort of life ... :)

The "Cecilia in thesis land" series in Phdcomics ends on a positive note.. thanks, Jorge :)

Open day at IISc showed the same thing. It might get dreary at times, frustrating most of times, and at several points you wonder if it is of any consequence, this thing that you are doing. But, then , you realise, Science is all about this, and, no matter what the downs are, this life is rather curious :)

Blank Spaces

A blank space – indeed how does one begin to describe a blank space? On the very face of it, the phrase appears to be a tautology, with ‘space’ itself meaning ‘a vast, unoccupied area’. As darkness is defined by the absence of light, the blank space can be defined by the absence of substance. But, on a second thought, one sees that a blank space holds innumerable possibilities for interpretation.
To a painter, it is an empty canvas, pregnant with myriad possible paintings to be made. To a teacher it is an innocent child’s mind, ready to be taught and eager to learn. A sculptor would see it as a beautiful piece of stone, waiting to be carved into his next masterpiece. It would remind the farmer of a land to be cultivated; and the builder, of a land that can be developed into a luxurious and profitable layout. A dancer would liken it to an open stage and a writer, to an unwritten page. The lover would see in it, a place where beautiful day dreams can be woven.
To the thinker, it is the absence of cluttering. The yogi says it is the beautiful calmness and peace of mind; while to the spiritual, it is Nothingness, the point at which one sublimes and merges with the Supreme.
A nature activist sees a blank space as a place of extensive deforestation. To the depressed it brings pictures of bleakness, while the psychiatrist would call it a representation of Alzheimer’s disease. To the destitute, it is home.
The beauty of the blank space lies in the eyes of the beholder – unadulterated and pure, or, barren and devoid of life. A pristine landscape waiting to be explored or a frightening ruin that drives away even the whiff of joy. A blank space is, thus, an externalization of our own mind. Our thoughts are what we see in it. When we calm our mind and drive out disturbing thoughts, it becomes the blank space that can be moulded into countless possibilities.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why does this strike a chord???

"when I started, everything seemed curious and full of wonder .... but now, everything has changed ... or maybe, I have changed ..." ... why does this strike a chord?? :(

10 reasons why one should have water crisis in hostels.

1. You get to tune your body clock according to water availability timings - you can probably publish a Nature paper titled "Rewiring the circadian rhythm - a study on effects of water availability on the human wake-sleep cycle" .

2. You can kick bad habits like getting up at 6 AM, as you don't get water till 9 in the morn.

3. The long walk from your room to the only bathroom in the hostel that has water, on the floor below yours, can prove to be the morning walk you always wanted to take, but were too lazy to actually go on.

4. You can experience emotions which you never thought you were capable of - like the murderous rage that hits you when you see the unkempt lawns in front of the main building being watered incessantly, when you don't have water for basic needs.

5. Your mind gets sharpened and inhibitions lowered; and you come up with crazy ideas like taking a face wash and tooth brush to the main building, and freshening up in the morn, using the water which is available in plenty there.

6. You get to check out all the loos on campus - on other wings in your hostel, the ones in other hostels, the ones in your dept etc.

7. You can publish a book titled - "A comprehensive survey of bathrooms on the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and classification of the same based on water availability and hygiene"

8. You get to play your role in the water conservation movement by not taking the daily bath.

9. You can opt to be a subject in trials for perfume and deodorant companies.

10. You appreciate the administration's successful efforts in making you empathise with the under-privileged, who have to struggle for the water on a regular basis.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Murder in broad daylight

There was a murder in the area I live, and it happened in broad daylight. The victim, was a veteran, who had lived for decades, braving the odds. The assailants were many; young muscular men in the prime of their youth. They hacked at their victim, who still stood strong and needed several blows from several men before showing the first signs of tottering. It looked like the victim was a practiser of ahimsa - not once was there any retaliation to the torture that was being inflicted. There were several passer-bys, silent witnesses, who gave the carnage a fleeting glance, not pausing to help, lest their busy schedule be upsetted. As the victim stood swaying under the heavy onlaught, the henchmen under the supervision of the boss, lassoed the victim and pulled, until, the poor thing could stand no further and finally, toplled over - a silent corpse. Friends and family stood rooted to their spots, in silence and shock; unable to help their loved one who now lay lifeless on the ground. Not that there would be any use if they spoke - who would hear their plea when the Government itself was ordering their elimination. The victim's brother, who was next in line, bowed his head silently, and let his body be subjected to the assailants' attack . And, people continued to pass by silently, without sparing a thought for the lovely huge tree that was being brutally chopped down to make way for a useless underpass.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Had a very eventful saturday. Day started off pretty ok - I was confident I would do a great job with my lit, and was making a perfect ppt - beautifully formatted, notes page etc etc. It was only by 1 pm that I realised my master piece would have to remain unfinished since I had to present by 1:30. Was feeling like a louse, sitting in the seminar hall, hating my bookish nothing-remarkable work. There was so much more to the interesting technique and all I had put in my slides was a amateurish ship shod job. The fact that RV didn't say anything only depressed me further, 'cause it made me feel that he had very low expectations from me.

Went to the dentist in the evening, and found out that I had developed two new cavities. Was plunged into more depression. You see, my teeth had always been my pride and glory. I used to bask in the glory of the fact that I had had 24 dental carries free care-free years :P In fact, my dentist was more upset than I to see my "pearl-like" teeth, as she called them, going to the dogs .

Stepped out of the dentist in this foul and depressed mood and stepped into Temptations, to see if they had Paa , which Amma was keen on seeing, for reasons I cannot comprehend. Since I was carrying just a handbag, they let that in. The ever-attentive-to-the-point-of-being-irritating salesman informed me that Paa was not in stock. So, I decided to do some general browsing. Saw a MoserBaer cheap edition of Khosla ka Ghosla, which I thought parents might like and picked it up. Moved on to the English section and was looking at the Incredible Hulk, when the above mentioned sales guy comes and says - "madam, we need to see your bag" - it was then that realization dawned on me . Years of supermarket shopping had taught me to put selected articles in the bag I was carrying - which was what I had absent-mindedly and very stupidly done here. I pulled out the incriminating evidence and started justifying - I am so sorry, I did it unintentionally, I wouldn't have left without paying". The guy continued staring at me and said - "We have hidden cameras ma'am, we see everything that happens" . I continued apologizing. By then, everyone in the store was staring at us, and I was wishing the earth would open up and swallow me, a la Sita. Then the guy gives me this super accusing look saying - "madam, neevu maaDiddu tappallva" [Madam, what you did was wrong, na?]. I admitted it was wrong and very stupid. Then, he said - we need to check your bag, ma'am. I gave him my bag, tried to appear nonchalant and continued staring at the english dvds rack as though I was unperturbed, trying hard to avoid other customers' looks. In about 5 mins, the guy returned my bag. I felt the compulsion to buy another dvd, as though to prove my innocence by making more business and buying stuff legally. So, I picked up a Bhaavageethe compilation of MD Pallavi. Went to the desk, and found the very same guy at the payment counter, who after taking the exact change from me, told me "don't do that again" . I started telling him that it was all a mistake, it was unintentional and I am not a shop-lifter - but could see it was all in vain. He was patting himself on the back for having finally made use of the fancy hidden cameras, and having caught a potential shop lifter red-handed.

Was very shaken after this. How difficult it is to prove intention! All that the world sees is action, and it is so difficult to prove one's innocence! It was really ironic that I - who is generally idealistic and uptight about road rules, following the law, doing the right thing etc, was "caught"shop-lifting". And, more ironic is the fact, that if it was some other girl who was in my position, and I was a mere spectator, I might have very well thought she was guilty and wondered - " Wow, she looks to be decent, but, well, who knows what people truly are! She might well be a kleptomaniac!!" In fact, some days back on the bus, I heard this programme on a stupid radio channel, where the RJ was asking viewers who have shoplifted to call and tell how they did it, and she was giving away gift vouchers to the callers! And, this show had girls coming in and confessing that they flick cosmetics from bangle stores and, not because they can't afford it, but for the thrill of it!! I would have thought that the "caught shoplifter" was one such girl! And the store owner might have thought I was the same!

Well, learnt a lot that day - from the lab meet, I learnt that I should give my best to things hence forth, 'cause I have the potential in me and I should not settle for anything sub standard. And from the shoplifting incident I learnt that one should be very careful while one acts - since the world sees only the action and not the intention behind it. I also learnt that I shouldn't be very judgmental - give people the benefit of doubt until proved guilty; since many might be wrongly accused and just because a lot of people think in one way, it doesn't make that right.

P.S. the Khosla ka ghosla cd had bad print and bad audio! Literally it ended up as a much ado about nothing!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Self Doubt....

Was thinking over what Swapna said at the dinner table, a few days ago. Some people have the opinion that praise should not be given on the face, and should be very discreetly done. But, as she said, during periods of self doubt, small little positive things said about you, by people who mater, makes a big difference. To quote her " I am currently feeling like crap. If there's anything good in me, tell me now. I want to hear it. Rather than telling eons later that I did good work on a project, tell me right away!" How true. Could do with some ego boosters currently. For all the times I felt that I was a perpetually chirpy person, and, it would take a lot to make me blue, Grad school is sure trying hard to prove me wrong.

Happened to go through a poster of my Masters work and went back and looked at my Masters PPT... somehow, strangely felt that I had done more work for my MSP than in 1 yr of PhD. Was surely more motivated back then. And, was also testing my potential to the max - course work, projects, French course, ran the dream run, did some work as the MAD secy of my hostel, sang for Swar Sandhya, won the classical music competition (an event that I could never reproduce!), went out with friends quite often, battled a few personal demons, and had a great gang of close friends. Wonder how I did so much back then, while currently, I am not even being able to pursue Yoga along with work. :(

Went to Mumbai for the weekend. Just wish I had accomplished something substantial over the last few weeks, to make me feel the break was well deserved. Been taking a lot of breaks and holidays with family of late. While I do love the time I spend with them, maybe , like what RV told me once, I need to prioritise and get thing moving.

Looks like it is time for a lot of painful but much needed introspection.... ouch.