March 31, 2006


Atheist believe that we have full control over life, Spiritualist believe that there are some forces around us controlling our life. As I started discovering the life style of the Diatoms, I started believing that environmental factors plays a major role in people's life. Light for insistence, brings about a rhythmic change in our day to day life, which is called as "Circadian rhythm" , coined by a French scientist Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, in 1700. We all have a biological clock inside, which is operated by the external factors, In fact one of our lab's interest is to decode this Biological Clock in Diatoms. As the 'Awake' and 'Asleep' is the part of this biological clock, I guess 'Smiles' and 'Tears' also may be part of some Biological clock and controlled by external factors? and we are just a silent victim of universe conspiracy? May be all we need to do is to "meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same"

What is all these stories for? I am surffering from very bad jet lag,which is part of my Biological Clock..and My Biological clock right now is just driving me crazy, Just trying to keep myself awake, just by reading and writing about the Science and Philosophy behind this mess.

March 30, 2006

Weekend in SFO!

End of the long conference,this weekend, I met my brother's friend Nattudurai (fondly called as Natts by his friends) on Saturday morning, we went around in SFO with his parents, it was a long 8 hours drive around the city. I was so amazed by his patience. In the evening there was big surprise waiting for me, I met around 20 of my brother’s friends. It was great; I was able to see a very lively and light social side of my 'strict' brother, for the very first time. The biggest surprise was, one of my brother's friend's mother was there, and she was my teacher in my college, a very nice teacher, who taught me genetics. Those were the days, when I first fell in love with Biology because of their very impressive lectures, we were recalling those sweet days when she told us the story about the first clone 'Dolly' and I shared with her, our present success stories in cloning the Diatoms, my trip was a big reward, both personally and professionally!!!

'She' Diatom Sharks!!

The Diatom meeting in walnut creek was very rewarding, the Diatom community scientist were very enthusiastic , filled with positive attitude. Among the big scientist (the Diatom sharks ), the women scientists were dominating the meeting, which is bit very rare to see in the science congresses. I guess its still a bit of a struggle for a women to dedicate her time for science. As a School kid, when I read the biography of Marie Curie, I was surprised to read about how she managed science and family together, today doing my research in the same street, where she was working to get her two Nobel prizes, makes me feel proud. Here are few pictures taken during the meeting, thats me, a little Diatom fella with Big Diatom Sharks in the Bay Area.

March 26, 2006


Before going to USA, I knew that ipods are very popular there, but never dreamt that I can see one in a automated vending machine along with coke and chocolates!

March 23, 2006

Went Well!

Finished my talk successfully yesterday! I used to be very nervous before the presentation, but this time for a change I was not, felt extremely confident, may be because I am repeating the same talk for third time this month, I was already screwed up enough earlier. After the talk some people came to me and appreciated my work. Also I was so excited to hear big scientists quoting my work and the terminology I used in my work. Above all, I got a great chance to interact with scientist, whom I know only through research articles, For instance I met Dr.Armbrust, whom I am quoting in my previous blog "Chimera"! having coffee and lunch with these people, seeing the lighter side of them, is really really exciting. For my work, I was collaborating with few people from JGI, (who is hosting the meeting now ) I met people with whom I was interacting through mail, for almost an year, Its funny to see that these people being so different from the image I had of them,It was all science yesterday. Today will go out, planing to go for a walk before the conference, will try to catch some of walnut creek in my camera.

March 22, 2006

First Impression…

Yes! Yesterday I did this big jump across the Atlantic Ocean. Landed in SF and took BART to reach Walnut Creek, a little town, bit hilly too, you will see some pictures in this week. My first impression of Bay area, every thing is sooo BIG, the cars, (of course the people too) the embassy suite where I am staying is atleast three times bigger than my Paris apartment. Yesterday we had the welcome drink; I was tired and so wanted to choose my drink very carefully, asked for white wine, having a tiny wine glass in mind, but they severed it in a MUG, if it was not white, I might have screamed “I don’t want beer!” So, ‘Big’ is normal here. But the first small thing I saw here drove me crazy.. The plug points to plug-in my laptop is much smaller than in Europe, the travel adaptor which I always carry with me was no good. So, took a free raid and had a mini town seeing, going around in many electrical stores hunting for the right adaptor. The Walnut Creek down town reminded me more of my brother’s town Merritt in Canada; after all I saw the same chain shops here too. Best buy, radio shack, of course McDonalds and Starbucks too.I Guess, because of jet lag, I am now awake at 4, don’t know what to do, so writing this blog and just wanted to relax, before my talk.

March 21, 2006

Last Minute..

I wish, I was more organized to avoid the last minute mess before a trip…I wanted to finish making slides and some work for my talk by this weekend and just wanted to relax today. But due the on going strike in France, there are some big threats for my institute too it seems. so, it was completely shut down and all the access points to the building was disabled and my weekend working plan was big flop show but had some nice unexpected lunch and dinner with friends and a nice forced rest. Just finished, making slides for my talk but will do the final touch up and finalize it in the flight with my boss, will be leaving to the airport in less than 6 hours, still need to rush home and start packing my things, I am the most well organized person on the earth!!!

March 16, 2006


I did it! Finished one big task for the week, my thesis committee, I gave my talk today. Hmm! Lots of questions too, managed to answer few, the rest my boss rescued me, over all I guess they were happy. Got lots of suggestions for my next two years work. Opps! Lots of things to do. As my committee members started giving theirs suggestions, I felt this tiny 20 micron ‘monster’ Diatom was challenging me and will keep me busy in the days to come. As I wrote in my blog earlier, diatoms are formed when a non-photosynthetic (‘animal like’) cell engulfed a photosynthetic (‘plant like’) cell, well this event, speculated to happen 200 million years ago and now the study of diatom genome started showing its evidences for this historical event, with its chimeric nature. I was always interested in reading human psychology, discovering the devilish and divine chimeric nature of us, now discovering the same in diatoms. I guess the Chimera; the Greek mythological monster is driving my life. Thats the image about the Diatom Evolution from Armbrust et al., Science 306, 79 -86 (2004)

March 15, 2006

Its Holi!

Its Holi today! Happy Holi ! Its the picture of Holi, celebrated with my friends, when was in Bangalore. Check out in Wiki to know more about Holi, also check some cool pictures of Holi from flickr (not my collection). This year, I am just playing around with colours in my power point presentation, preparing for my tomorrow's thesis committee talk. Anyways..Its all about playing with and adding colour to our to each others life :-) Lets get as colourful as my new friend Elmer, the patch work elephant!

March 14, 2006

Lucky Days! Touch Wood!

In spite of me going crazy with my presentations preparation, I am feeling extremely blessed and lucky for the past few days with wonderful people around. In between the crazy work schedules, having nice, refreshing tea breaks with Micha, discussing silly to very serious issues, with nice home made cheese cakes and two birthday parties with lots of chocolate cakes, weekend parties/get together in the bars... Humm! Too many things in the very short time, you guys may be wondering why there is no photos of the big events happened during the last week, that’s because my old camera refused to work anymore. And just today I got a new camera, gifted by dear brother, a nice gift for a nice sister! Got my visa to USA too, Next week this time, will meet you guys from San Francisco.

Today I got stuck with one very important analysis to finish for my presentations, I was just estimating that the program will take more than a week to run in my small computer, which means, I will not be able to present that result in my thesis committee and in the conference…. just then an Angel popped out of my Google talk…out of the blue.. and asked if she can help me, well! Now that angel is running this program for me in her Hi-Fi server in her lab, in Swiss. The angel is my good friend from my university, Vidhya. Now! I will have the results by tomorrow morning. Lucky me! Still lot more things to do, before I can sit back and relax.

March 10, 2006

Childhood Revisited!

It was bit hectic week, actually it was just a preparation for big events coming up in the next couple of weeks, Making three presentations, my annual work presentation in the lab, my first thesis committee presentation, to review my first year PhD work and the 'BIG' presentation in JGI, genome sequencing center, a little 'Diatomist' fella will be giving a speech before the 'BIG' Diatomist Sharks in the Bay Area!Hmm! Bit Scary!
Today Alcidio left for his trip in South India. He will go to Madurai and stay with my cousin's family, can't wait to hear about his experience in Madurai.Yesterday did some shopping with Micha for my little nieces in Madurai. We went to some very cute kids shops, I was introduced to many European comic characters, the very impressive one was Micha's favorite Elmer, the patchwork ,a very colorful elephant. One among few things come up to the westerners mind, when they talk about India is the usage of very bright colours in India, but first time for a change,we have the plain black elephant, unlike this colourful 'European' elephant. This Elmer is a very cheerful and optimistic personality it seems.yeah! it needs lots of courage and optimism to be out of the crowd! Will try to get hold of some books of Elmer and will write more about this 'optimist'.

March 02, 2006

My First Love!

There is a brand new member in our lab, the day I did the overnight work in the lab, last Sunday. I heard a strange sound out the window, sounded like a cat in deep pain, just peeped out and it was too dark and I just saw two pretty eyes glittering. The next day I went to see him with few cat lovers in my lab, unlike in India, it’s very rare to see stray dogs and cats in Paris, surprised to see a disowned cat, struggling in cold and hunger in my lab terrace and now we adopted him, we have a heap of cat food in our pantry to feed him. Cats and Dogs are my first love, when I was 6 or 7 years old in Salem, I remember sneaking out my house to secretly meet few stay puppies near my house. Unfortunately I was never able to own one because of my gypsy life style. (I have never lived in a town/city for more than 3 years.) I felt with this lifestyle of mine, I can never justify to my lover, if I own India we find hell lot of stray dogs and cats, I always find a new love easily to any new city I move to. In Paris I never found one, for the last one year, but when ever I miss my love, I use to walk in the long street of pet shops, just next to the river in Paris, but it’s also painful to see them shut in cages! I like to let my love go free, hoping that they come back to me in some form or the other (but usually they never do...That’s a different story...) Lucky Week! With many good results in my project and much other good news, I got my First love back!

March 01, 2006

Out of the Blue!

Recently.. well!! almost two months back Arjun exhibited his photos, with this photo, taken in Rajasthan, in the flyer and titled “Out of the Blue”! Every one appreciated the photos and the title specifically, so appropriate, since it was his first exhibition and also the photos were really “Out of the Blue”. Today as I was browsing through the my favorite “In Pictures” column in BBC, they have posted the best photos of “Photographer of the year” ,winner's gallery, a beautiful photos from the deep blue ocean, with the same phrase as the title!!! I was so surprised to see the usage of this phrase “Out of the Blue”, did some research on this Phrase. Got to know some interesting stuff about its origin.(source)


A surprise, like a bolt of lightning from a blue sky.

Origin :

This has the feel of a Shakespearian or Biblical phrase, but it isn't as old as it sounds. There are several forms of it: 'out of the blue', 'a bolt out of the blue', etc. The earliest citation is Thomas Carlyle, in 'The French Revolution', 1837:

"Arrestment, sudden really as a bolt out of the Blue, has hit strange victims."

But for me all good Photographs are “Out of the Blue” as they always “’Take me’ Out of the Blue”!