December 29, 2007

Sleepless nights …

Sleepless nights…. It is strange to feel the same was as three years before. Three years before around the this time, I got the confirmation for my PhD in Paris, spent few weeks of sleepless nights, fighting the society for my freedom and final exit , with dreams and nightmares about venturing into this huge city without knowing a person . Landed in Paris with the enormous amount of freedom, that gave me courage to fight this western society from imposing ways to misuse my freedom. Now few more weeks to go for my vacation to India, suffering from the similar sleepless nights with dreams to see the places where I grew up and the friends who were with me during my final struggle, also nightmares about taking back home this freedom that have become a part of me. Will my society welcome me with this freedom which they never wanted to see me with?
Experiencing such conflicts and depression, no wonder the closing lines of the movie , 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' got tears in my eyes yesterday.
“Unmarried, I have no master. Childless, I am mother to my people. God give me the strength to bear this mighty freedom."

December 25, 2007

Christmas Pilgrimage ...

I know...I wrote yesterday that I have lots of work to finish, but for Christ sake its Christmas. I took a day off and ventured into one of the region of France that I have not been before, Centre (Val de Loire ) . This region is well know for its castles (châteaux ) of Loire Valley. Today I went to a small pilgrimage village called Chartres; just few hours away from Paris where you can find this calm village. Beautiful Cathedral , considered to be one of the finest Gothic (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres)standing in the middle of a little town traversed by a small river and covered with a very thin layer of snow. Hmmm! Its difficult to say wheather the cathedral is adding a spritual peace or the cold, snowy winter is adding peace to this little village. More Pics

December 24, 2007


Thats how my holidays are going to be…I have something similar to that, but no regrets… Christmas holidays are the best time to be in Pairs, I should say almost 50% of the population is out of the city, calm , quite and an empty lab. Above all a very rewarding holiday is waiting at the end of this holiday! Ok…let me get back to work now…

December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Coming from a country where festivals are seen as bundle of rituals; here I see festivals as an excuse to get together and express the love and gratitude, eat…drink..and party. In the last one week, I had six Christmas dinners and parties, the most impressive ones were the one with my French class, with people across the world, representing all the major religions sitting around the table, contributing some Christmas stories and food from each country, it was a emotional moment; another impressive story was how Micha bought tears in people’s eye by distributing his cute little German Christmas cookies pack. Adding a cherry to the above events was our lab’s Caribbean party today .As I entered the lab today the Caribbean music was breaking the roof tops and we had Gerald behind the bar, to make Caribbean cocktails by lunch time everyone was drunk then it was time to say Happy holidays; we had few high and low times last year, I hope my third year will be better. With this happy note and having few more Christmas dinners to attend before Christmas…Happy Holidays!

December 18, 2007

un burro viejo, aparejo nuevo

un burro viejo, aparejo nuevo - for an old donkey, a new bridle. The older I become, more exciting the life becomes; Each year birthday day seems to be getting better and better, filled with people pouring love and affection and more exciting things to do. This year I visited a very small mountain village in Catalonia. Inspite of the beautiful landscape the highlight of the place was the donkey farm. Around 40 years back when farmers started using cars, they started slaughtering donkey it seems; when this very rare variety of Catalan donkeys were at the verge of extinction, this gentle man collected the donkeys from the farmers (only 30 was left at that time it seems) and now he expanded it to few hundred; it was so amazing to see this old man’ s passion for the donkeys, seeing this beautiful majestic Catalan donkeys, it’s not so difficult to fall in love with them. Mild snow….beautiful village…friendly people…people who make difference in some one life….meeting man with a mission… Thank you Anton for this beautiful gift.

December 14, 2007

Frozen lake!

Started a long weekend break in Catalonia, directly from the airport went to the nearby mountains, we stopped by a small mountain village Granera, just 75 inhabitants and a very beautiful frozen dam.I have never seen a lake like this, completely transformed into ice, beautiful to see the stones bouncing and sliding over the ice with a magnificent sound echoing in the valley

December 13, 2007

marriage of hearts...

Exactly six years before on this same day (how can i forget a terror filled day) I underwent a similar condition,
of course i didn't have remote in my hand, anyway choices aren't so great though. A person like me ( with all the regrets and no valid explanation for this behaviour of mine)...who like to see again only less than 50% of people I meet in my life and get along and be friends with only less than 1 % of those people..... Just a stronger feeling of self is common in these 1% people ( self respect , self confidence and a genuine love for the person I am.. glittering in their their eyes ) ...I know ....i 'may' burn in hell for rejecting the rest 99% of people from my life and for getting tears in my mom's eyes everytime when i say no to her choice.... but being an hypocrite will turn my current life into hell right??? May be I am still following a very cheesy saying , from my childhood bed room poster, give a genuine smile to many but heart just for few!

December 12, 2007

its christmas....

A day filled with good news and surprises;

Got my new laptop delivered, almost a week in advance, my lab mates call it the Ferrari...beautiful red ... looks super cool and works super fast.

I thought i will be left bankrupt by this my first big investment, to my surprise some cash flooded into my account; thanks to my friends and family !

One of my paper got accepted for publication

I will have weekend break in snow covered? mountains... as a birthday gift

I got my tickets booked for my next big vacation ... to God's own country! next month this time...I will be there!

December 11, 2007

Rich and famous…

Most of us crave to be rich and famous, if not both at least any one for sure. Infact one of my ‘Biggest’ cultural shock I faced in girls here (I should be more specific and say girls of my lab) is that they can do anything with their body to get men’s attention, being a fashion victim and following the hyper sexualised society like a sheep…in spite of knowing the fact that physical ‘beauty’ and the attention you get out of it is not going to last for ever…. anyways I am not here to decide on which is the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to get attention but to introduce you to a guy who came up with his own formula for ‘being famous’, fondly called as ‘super star’ Rajini , the most famous movie star in Tamil Nadu…. Just watch a small fraction of the people’s response to his latest movie.
In India....
And Outside....
A guy who started his life in the foot-path (literally) to the status of the super hero, without having any of ‘stranded’ hero phenotype, at the end of the day what makes people so famous? I guess its their ‘individuality’, daring to be different and confident about their ‘unique’ self will help them to be noted by people than a sexy outfit or sexy body gestures. Girls! Each one of us are gifted with our own unique ‘self’ lets not mask it with make-up or sexy outfits and cry in loneliness for attention. Rajinikanth, worshiped by many…ridiculed by few yet a revealing his own secret formula to be famous, as he celebrates his 57th birthday tomorrow, may be it’s a right day to start being confident and to appreciate our own wonderful, unique ‘self’ , which will add charisma even in a wrinkled skin....
Happy Birthday Rajini! a 'role' model sagittarian!

December 06, 2007

Some action thru my window

After a loooong time, my lab was filled with some fun life and action, with new group of people moving in and the absence of 'annoying people' made some big difference... laughing at some silly jokes...I don't know when I last laughed like this...we laughed so much that it got tears our eyes and pain in my stomach. And also today..I fulfilled my long-term dream..., I always hear about 'the famous french demonstrations. After two years finally today got a chance to see it in live....People (god knows for what..t) were on the road making in a big rally..with police trying to stop them in vein..we witnessed some action thru the window. We were locked in for sometime to prevent the crowd from entering and breaking down things in the lab as they did in the near by university last time.
Here, in a developed country where most of the people don't have problem for their basic requirements food, clothing and shelter , Still they invent some new needs and demands and go on street....Oops! All the human needs can never be fulfilled...may its just like trying to fill an pot with a hole.

December 03, 2007

one problem less

Thanks to Marc! its so kind of him to make use of his childhood hobby and fix my bike, just not the seats, the annoying noise, the loooose chain, the bent wheel...I wish i can do all these by myself one day. Touch wood...only few more problems left...I just need to get rid of my flu/cold, fix my leaking kitchen and to fix my crashing laptop...all without pushing my bank account to negative. Thanks to Paris...I am learning to count the penny(cents...)

December 01, 2007

Meet the evil monkey!

Evil Monkey EXPLAINED! - The best home videos are here
So, here is the real evil monkey, a character in my favorite "family guy" ! (thanks to my brother he got me a complete set of season one of this American animation series !) but I do meet some evil monkeys in my real life. Especially I am not able to stand the people who forget that "face (eyes) is the index of mind" and try to mask their malice and hatred just with a smile. I grew up hearing that such people living in close proximity with a big smile but sabotaging you in their thoughts and at your back can bring some bad luck for you....yeah! that belief may be as true as Chris(the boy in family guy) seeing a evil monkey in his closet, anyways.... all the evil monkeys may have a sad stories in their past (like the 'real' one) which made them this evil but we are humans and we can try to get this evil monkey out of us." lets try to smile only when we mean it! that will add more charm to our smile"

November 30, 2007

The evil monkey follows...

today morning when i took out my bike to come to the lab, this is what happened...the seat broke....
annoyed by the crowded metro...i went to the near by velib (bike rental) stand.....i found none...they are just made for emergency ...thats y i never find one when i need it...ok...just 5 minutes walk...i found just one left..."thank god" with all the signal and the traffic..i have to reach the lab within 30 min and leave it in the nearest bike stand....
when i reached the bike stand next to my lab...this is how it was...there was no place to put a i have to find the closest empty stand, with just few more minutes.....ooops! this evil monkey is just following me... i started taking photos and composing the blog entry in my mind....i felt i am not a victim of the busy..hectic schedule of the city life...but just one small struggling character in a big play that i am enacting.......Thanks to the blog, which makes me see myself as a Protagonist in my life's play...sometimes, i feel i can kick out the evil monkeys out of my play...but they add some new twists and turns to my i will learn to put up with them and may be one day i can write...she lived happily ever after...!

November 29, 2007

The Evil Monkey!

Now back in cold and grey Paris....I switched on my mobile and to my surprise it was still working but the keys went crazy, when I click one... it starts the radio etc. Only a Phd student can understand such a helpless condition, when the money you earn is not enough for such expensive accidents and living in one of the most expensive cities of the world...makes you feel like Sh**... as an Indian the first thing I did was to curse the "evil eye that was staring at me" .Later..... out of desperation looked for the similar handset in ebay, lucky me....I found one recent model for one euro and the bid was about to end in 3 be in the safer side i made a bid for 5! I won it! Life has never been that easy for me, with all the excitement that I got a mobile just for 10 euros (with shipping), i started reading the description (of course using google translator)....I was not able to believe my own eyes...guess what????? I just bought a plastic dummy mobile, which are used in the shops for display....anyways at the cost of 10 euros, I was able to add some smile and laughter in the depressed lab mates, who were suffering from failed experiment and after paying a hefty university fee. After having a nice laugh at my stupidity, my brain came back to senses, i decided to dismantle the mobile and I found some salted sand particles....washing that off I got my mobile back in working conditions.....Moral of the story : " haste makes waste"! and now we have decided to hang the dummy phone in the lab against the evil eye and bad day!

November 28, 2007

Last few days!

All the nice things have an end and specially when some evil eyes are constantly staring at you, it can be a bit of an unpleasant end too. After the fun-filled days in Eilat, we started driving towards Jerusalem, thanks to Doron, it was beautiful drive along the desert and dead sea. On the way as we stopped in the world's lowest point and the only place where we can float in the water, my mobile jumped out of my bag and fell into the dead sea. Dreaming about the Jerusalem, i just put the mobile aside and didn't want to think about it till i am back in Paris.
Jerusalem: I have never dreamt of such a place in my life, holy place of three religions, people with different beliefs living in such a close proximity, I was lucky to get lost in the old town and discovered both pleasant and unpleasant quarters of this holy place. In India people believe that the religious place have high energy, that's when people with problems (low energy) feel nice when they go to such energy rich place. now if that belief is true, we can say that the old city of Jerusalem strictly follows the second law of thermodynamics "energy systems have a tendency to increase their entropy".
Tel aviv : Just 40 minutes drive from Jerusalem, a very modern city with many sky scrappers. Meeting some of Assaf's friends, staying with them, knowing the history of the place, playing with Itai, Doron's son (when did i last had a four month old beautiful baby in my laps), walking around the oldest port in the world (Jaffa) put my legs into the Mediterranean, watching people doing surya namaskar in the beach (you can never see even in India) . End of the trip, I felt that I have never seen so much of love for India any where else and specially I admired the confident and daring way of expressing their love. Now I know where to go, when my confident level goes down and not happy with my identity.

November 25, 2007

what a day!

"may be this is just a small pause for the exciting days to come"!...yes! I was right! it was indeed just a small pause before my exciting day, after the depressing last blog post, i went out to explore Eilat, entered the dolphin reef, I don't know what made me do this…I just went and enrolled my self for a scuba dive with a dolphins. "I CANT BELIVE IT...! I SWAM WITH DOLPHINES" ! I am sure Anton will not believe this, after me giving him such a tough time during my first snorkeling in Mediterranean this summer …I have a small video proof for my diving…(coming soon) That was not all, spent the evening in the desert on a camel seeing the sunset and moon rise! Where else in the world you can do this, do a dolphin dive and a camel raid on the same day? Thank you Israel! And thanks to all the unknown kind people I met yesterday and specially to the daring Israeli men who made me feel like a queen and thus my gloomy day came to an end. We are just about leave for Jerusalem! More pictures .

November 24, 2007

why me?

End of a very nice day, I was dreaming to see one the new 7 wonders of the world "petra" ! but my Indian passport and the super fast visa service of Jordan stopped me from doing it. Thats why here I am sitting in this beach, desperatly staring at Jordon just in opposite shore and uploading pics and updating my blog... well every dog has its day! may be this is just a small pause for the exciting days to come....I am sure, I will arrange some thing exciting to do today till i wait for the diatomics team to come back from petra.... major selfdiscoveries are made in the the famous french writer says....
"Here I possessed nothing in the world. I was no more than a mortal strayed between sand and stars,... and yet I discovered myself filled with dreams."
-Antoine de Saint Exupéry

November 23, 2007

Here I am... i am in this beautiful world...Israel ! very strict but also affectionate and kind, that's the word i will use to describe my mother and Israel, believe me... who else in this world can ask me so many questions and at the same time take care of all my needs even before i ask for help . starting from my friends arranging for my accommodations, visits even before i land there, to being fed by the co-passenger('vegitatrian snacks') which AirFrance failed to provide. As I woke up yesterday, took just few steps out of my bed to see the glowing sun rising behind the red sea and the Jordon desert, lighting up the Israel and Egypt with its first rays. yeah! that's the sun rise in the triangle of peace. walked under the sea to see the beautiful rea sea coral reef,
Thats the beautiful sunset and the diatomics team. to add a cherry to this beautiful day was the night trip into the desert, experiencing the loud silence of the nature.
more pics...

November 21, 2007

Brother Returns...

My brother stopped on his way back to Canada, the two things he wanted to do in Europe was to visit Italy and to drive in German autobahn. On his second hop in Europe, he fulfilled his second wish of driving 200km/hr in Germany. during this crazy drive we stopped at Heidelberg
Luxembourg: by visiting this tiny country, I successfully completed visiting all the six neighboring countries of France.
Now with all the French strikes, if I manage to reach airport tomorrow, I will be stepping into middle east soil for the first time.

November 15, 2007

Long live Photosynthesis!

With a very successful thesis committee meeting yesterday, I officially finished my second year Phd, I discussed my two year work for two and half hours. Finally got some hope about my Phd. I guess I can finish it just in time too Long live Light! And Long Live Photosynthesis! …otherwise... Paris is getting sunny, cold and crowded, with all the public transports on strike, the road is filled with cyclists and annoyed car drivers, anyways I can escape from this cold weather at least for a week…Next week this time I will be in a ‘warmer’ country….how exciting!

November 11, 2007

Festival of Lights!
We celebrated diwali yesterday, diwali is more like 'christmas of India', one of the biggest festival. But here in Europe I see Christmas as an family affair but diwali is more of friends and family affair. Traditional way of diwali goes for more than a week, it beings with making of few kgs of sweets to distribute to almost all the known people, neighbors, teachers, the postman,garbage collector,watchman, drivers etc. As a kid me and brother divide the street and each one take one side of the street to distribute sweets to all out neighbors of the street and show off our new dress, evening we lit up the street with fire crackers and lights. Hmm! that was the most awaited festival as a kid. Yesterday, in Paris we did a miniature version of diwali, with lots of sweets and good food with Niranjan's friends and family. Thus we added some light and sweet to my gloomy days! more pics!

November 07, 2007

Got a trophy!

Its bit hard to for me to believe but …yes! I am alive! If I can still feel pain means I am alive right? Well! Last week I celebrated in silence my two years of successful blogging by giving myself this trophy.

What a surprise! the Archive list almost look like a semi-trophy! Nature and English(in spite of me not being so nice to it) together conspired to give me this trophy ...

I have never done anything for such long-time voluntarily…and then I made some wishes for some impossible things to happen…like….two days of continuous sunshine in Paris…and…. to always hear “yes! go for it! as an answer from my family! have more sensible/sensitive/less annoying lab mates… Other than that I just jumped into (pool) for a new hobby of swimming, thanks to my friends and this trophy for inspiring me to swim through and survive my gloomy days!

October 31, 2007

differences and differences...

One important feature, I enjoy during my travel is the differences, just travel for an hour within a country(Italy) and how much differences you can experience.Especially this time, traveling with my brother who lived almost 10 years in North America and showing him the Europe for the first time, it was quite an experience. He freaked out seeing the houses as old as his American towns still happily floating in the Mediterranean sea in Venice, Navigating using the small city map in Rome, well! here the roads not exactly meet at right angles to each other, you are bound to get lost and use that as an excuse to stop an handsome Italian man to ask for directions, (thanks to the confusing roads of Rome). Small scooters rushing in the old stone paved roads of Florance, the church chandelier which inspired Galileo in Pisa. Not just the stones of colosseum, every stone in Italy was narrating the history of THE Romans. Not just this, the types of food, the amount of cheese used (still people are slim?,) the hotel rooms still use the classical keys (No electronic card), no street name in the cross roads (street names are mostly written on the buildings in the cross road),the size of the shower rooms etc. etc. every small things put my brother in surprise. Now that I am bit used to Europe, when I can I see something ' very different'.....very soon, I have to now run to two embassies to process my two visas to two countries in 'Middle East' (are they exactly in Middle East? ...may be..) and then join my friend Alcidio for lunch and hear about his last two months adventures in Africa. Thanks to the differences which still survive in the tough hands of Globalization.

October 30, 2007


Be a traveler or tourist, Italy have nice things to offer, check out the photos of two Indian tourists lost in the beauty of Italy. Trip to Italy with my brother.

October 20, 2007

Welcome to Europe!

Can you guess how long it takes to go from Paris to its airport? With the train strikes and the rugby final match adding fuel to the fire, it took me 9 hours, from door to door to go and receive my brother from the airport! Well! I didn’t have much time to complaint about it, now that my brother is with me and we are doing a stormy (you can all call it as “quick and dirty” or “a look and feel”) tour in Italy. yeah! that’s the first country he wanted to see in Europe, even before Paris, that too the whole country in just three days! Inspite of all I am having a great time, introducing my brother to my favorite Europe! I will update soon about the “look and feel” trip feels like.

October 08, 2007

Lot of things!

This Saturday was nuit blanche and the French's fate deciding rugby match. Had a nice Italian dinner party at my boss's house with his very first and latest students, both latest finished and latest ongoing (Anton and Me) watching the rugby match for the very first time in my life and that too I was able to catch my host country winning a very tough game. Humm! for the very first time in my life some events got repeated, Last year I had a stroll in my favorite square with Anton to see it lighted in blue for nuit blanche, this year out of mere coincidence we just repeated that after the dinner, this year the same square was lighted with lamps with fire. Check out the photos, you will not deny that it was taken in the romantic city, Paris. Well! this year too the road was filled with drunken people, even some drunken monkeys went into a museum (which is open over night for Nuit Blanche) and punched some million dollar worth Claude Monet's painting it seems! crazy!

October 08, 2006Nuit blanche
Today is Nuit blanche (white Night) in Paris. Every year in October, I guess on full moon night they have this thing called white night, when all the museums are open for free till mid night and many art pieces and installations exhibited in main areas of paris. We went to an Iranian museum, many gold and silver art works remained me of ancient art pieces of India. I felt the same in last week’s Thai expo too. I guess our ancient India had lot of cultural and art exchanges with the neighbors. We just strolled through important monuments...that’s in my favorite square, Place de la concord.. Fountains and statues around the square were lighted blue. People were going crazy in the road,city looked as if the whole Paris was on the street, took a hell lot of time to drive back home, with the drunken teenagers jumping in the streets.
blog it

October 02, 2007

Heureusement que dans vie ...

Heureusement que dans vie certaines choses refusent de changer (Fortunately somethings in life doesn't change).. Like me trying to learn a language. I joined my French class again for the third time, i successfully failed and was happily taken in level one by the Paris municipality for adult education. It was my first day in a cute little école élémentaire (elementary school), sitting in the tiny chairs and benches I started my French classes all over again. Like our parents get us new bags and pencils to encourage us to go to school, Anton sent me this French (Canadian) song, very meaningful, its about how fast things are changing from generation to generation.. I am sure one day in my life I can speak French!

September 26, 2007

Nila Kaigirathu

Sorry Guys! I have been bit bitchy lately! Life is full of ups and downs and we meet all sorts of people! It’s not good to lose our balance and to generalize things. If you are wondering where I got this enlightenment, yesterday I saw the full moon from my bed, beautifully hiding behind my curtains and clouds. This made me recall one of my favorite Tamil moon song, “Nila Kaigirathu” (Moon is shining), little girl singing (to console her sad father) a beautiful song in Carnatic (Tamil nadu’s classical music) style.
The song goes like this, we have the moon, breeze and beautiful flowers, my little eyes can see it, my little hands can feel it but no one else seems to be enjoying this (they are doomed in worries), We have the sun, air, pouring clouds, cuckoo’s songs, earth and sky to bless us everyday, take the life as a gift (live it happily) !
Lets count our blessings! When there is light, the darkness disappears! I will go and wait for the moon!

September 25, 2007

Lack of common language!

Now you will know, why I had conflicts with my lovely?, adorable? lab mates! End of the day its not their fault, we just don't live in the same world nor speak the same language! just as it happens in this clipping!

September 24, 2007

India / Relationships - Between Earth and Sky!

How exciting the life can be, if we dare to have a new dimensional view to our life! yesterday I had a interesting discussion with some of my friends about the feeling of possessiveness in an relationship! we all agree that any relationship should be based on faith, but still we don't agree/like our partner spending time with someone we don't like, I feel this feeling of possessiveness(?) is not as the result of fear of losing the partner but its a question of dignity. Most of us will agree that if the partner have a valid (dignified) reason to spent time with a person whom we don't value or who don't have much values in life, we will not suffer from this relationship crisis. A good relationship may be perfect balance between earth and sky!
Every time when we can see a action,place, behaviour or a thing in a completely new dimension with the help of a friend, poet, philosopher, painter or a! what an enlightening movement! I have see lots of photographs of India, today I happen to see Nicolas Chorier, a french Kite Aerial Photographer's collection on India. I was overwhelmed to see it from a completely new angel. Check his site! (specially India in the 'editions' menu and some wild whales in the 'nature' link! ) I didn't know that we can do so many exciting things with a kite and can make me miss India!

Momo Party!

As a teenager, I had a poster in my bed room with a caption "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out"! and I still can't imagine a life without my fun filled friends around me in my good and bad times. To end a very stressful week we had a 'momo' party, with Meena's pregnancy and Micha's birthday as an excuse! Had delicious momo and lively people who made me laugh at all reasons, which made me cry last week! Thanks to Poonam for her special Nepali momos and my friends who gave me energy to face a new week!

September 21, 2007

My best friend's birthday!

In the name of culture we started giving hard and fast rules to define everything we do and for the relationships we encounter in our daily life. Different culture share the common core definitions for relationships with some slight variations. Lack of knowledge of this intricate variations can put us in difficult conditions. For instance in friendship, I feel in India the intimacy of the friendship is often expressed verbally and with lots of friendly gestures and some 'basic' friendly gestures are given more monotonously to acquaintances or even to people with whom we don't share anything in common. But doing the same here in the 'west' have got some of my acquaintances from work suffocatingly closer to me, then in my attempts to escape from this suffocation and try to create a healthy distance end up in the creation of 'big' distance. Also, I feel it happens often with girls, may be we girls lack empathy or too egoistic to accept that they can be source of suffocation?

While I was playing this game of distance and healthy distance in friendship, there came a person in my life who gave a new definition for friendship, he showed me that just silent presence of a person can make a big difference in our life and he gave me the assure, 'I am there for you' just by this silence. Well! even though i have suffered enough because of my 'Indian friendly gestures' I cant completely give up my Indian way of verbal definition of friend, so let me give a glimpse of my special friend in my bollywood style......Can you imagine mix of a German (intelligence)technology, their healthy delicious salad with sophisticated french perfume and style? such an unbeatable unique combination is my best friend and today's birthday boy Micha, he always creates his own ways and may your path always filled with green trees and teas!

September 19, 2007

Stadt der Wissenschaft

No I didn’t learn German in two days, just that word because that’s the most appropriate word to describe the town I visited (Stadt der Wissenschaft – town or city of Science). We drove into the town almost at midnight seeing this small town intertwined with very old classical style house and some modern ones, just in the banks of the river Saale…..

……… That’s exactly when my computer crashed!!!!!!!! (14th sep 2007)

When I came back from Jena, I was over excited by my work, I was able to understand the importance of the type of work that I am doing and I was able to appreciate it more than ever. But this excitement didn't last long, as I was typing my blog about the trip, my computer crashed (the memory failure this time). Hoping that I can get it fixed with system admin of my lab, i left to my lab and on the way I lost my mobile, with all my contacts! then running to the police station, fighting for a new mobile and sim card with the same to know that I have to replace the RAM in my computer...hunting for a cheap and good one to fit in my emergency budget! Hmm! that was just the start of the depression, the actual storm was yesterday! my friends, who know me for a long time will refuse to believe this but I promise its true! I SCREAMED at my lab mates yesterday for a stupid issues and then as usual cried and cried for hours but thank God in very strong and supportive shoulders of Micha! Anton who can understand my lab more than me, made me realize that with type of personality I have, I will always have few 'burning' people around me and I should be strong enough to face this and when I started telling this to my brother, he asked me the full name of the people who annoyed me, in the 'godfather' style, I was bit worried first and then I realized that he is asking just to send some positive energy for them and for me during his meditation. Now don't ask me, what went wrong and why I shouted! that's altogether a big story, I fill first fix my energy depletion, and then I can describe the incident more objectively!

anyway! that's a photo of Max Planck, proudly standing(?) in a very beautiful chemical ecology institute named after him, the best biology lab i have see in my life, well organized and a very beautiful modern building standing in between the valleys in Jena.

September 11, 2007

Road to Jena!

Just before my summer vacation, Chris asked me if I am interested in presenting some work in Jena in Germany. Just hearing the word Germany and thinking about the delicious salads they make, without even having a second thought about amount of work I need to do for that, I told him a big yes! After coming back, I genuinely tried to collect enough data for the meeting, with two power fluctuations and one server break down in the past 10days, my current status is like this. “I can never make it for the presentation”.

I have to leave today. To add fuel to this depression, just at the last minute checked my tickets booked by the lab secretary, the itinerary is more complicated than my life. I have to fly to Frankfurt then to Leipzig and from there an hour on road to Jena, 6 hours travel to my neighboring country? oops! All this for the German salad? Why I didn’t ask Micha to make one for me?

September 08, 2007

Rugby 2007!

I told you.....! the Rugby world cup is adding new colors to Paris. As I was taking the pictures of Eiffel tower, lighted green and golden for the rugby world cup, I heard people screaming and cheering their team! Well! these cheering and the colors didn't make France win the opening match against Argentina! lets see... still a long way to go! till then check out the lighted 'Tour Eiffel'

September 07, 2007

La Rentrée

End of the summer vacation when French come back to their work, Paris welcomes them with various activities; one such was the fireworks at La Défense. La Défense is the business quarter, the only place in Paris where you can see lots of skyscrapers and also has 'La Grande Arche', which is in the axis of ...(not the evil) other major monuments of Paris. This year this La Rentrée also coincides with the start of rugby world cup! these celebration are adding color to Paris, the city is going to be crazy and colorful for sometime.

You can see some more photos here, my crazy attempt to catch the fireworks without and tripod. Again! Thanks Micha! for all the information! you are a walking encyclopedia.

September 04, 2007

God? save America!

After seeing the Miss Teen South Carolina's performance, last few days we were discussing a lot about the 'Intellectual" properties of America, Obviously the role of Indians especially that of ABCD -'America Born Confused Desi' were also talked about! May be this is the Image of Indians created in/by America!
PS: Thanks Micha! for the clipping and for introducing Family guy! a thought provoking comedy, sometimes when a long intellectual discussion and big philosophies fail, a simple joke can provoke thoughts! Hats off to the Americans who are making it! well! not every one in USA is Miss South Carolina!

September 03, 2007

The power of myth!

Now a days we humans consider getting married and buying a house as the biggest accomplishment in their life, once we achieve these stuffs, we try to train his next generation ‘genes’ to achieve the same. In ancient India, the ‘achievements’, siddhi (in Sanskrit) was of eight different types, and one who have archived these eight siddhi are considered to be saintly person or even worshiped as ‘God’! Check out the list of siddhi to achieve to become God! Well! These siddhi really existed or not? Is it possible to achieve all these siddhi? Well these are multi-billion dollar question. We, the rationalist will start laughing at these ‘siddhi’ in the same way as the people laughed at the concept of electricity, telephone or even the theory of relativity when it was fist spoken about. Well! spiritualist’s history can be rationalist’s mythology. But even if we consider this as just a myth, naïvely believing in such a myth, can give us power to overcome our obsession over silly ‘modern’ human defined achievements, right?

Well! How did I get into all these mythological stories today? I was reading an article on the discovery of new gene which contributes to the small height differences in humans. That remained me of the mythological stories about hanuman (monkey God) and many other ‘Godly’ characters who had the siddhi to change their heights. The painting is an ‘God’ (mythological character) Ganesh(elephant God) with his eight siddhi personified as women by the famous painter Ravi Varma.

August 28, 2007

what makes us happy at work?

I was comparing my feelings about coming back to Paris after a month long vacation. First year, back from Canada - very new to work, started having some friends , i was more than excited.I almost had a similar feeling last also at the end of my vacation in Switzerland. This year only my friends in Paris were greatly motivating my return. I was reading a related article in BBC today.
They say that the following factors can make us happy at work. Top 10, in rank order
  1. Friendly supportive colleagues - all my colleagues are friendly (except one sneaky rat), but moving from the junior most of the lab to one of the senior member can make a big difference.
  2. Enjoyable work - I enjoy my work (except writing my manuscript)
  3. Good boss or manager - after working in a very strict environment, i enjoy working with a boss like Chris who gives lots of space and independence at work. well! i guess he strongly believes in the "survival of the fittest" theory!
  4. Good work/life balance - I hang out with friends and take vacations more than any normal researcher does. (Well! I took Praveen to Eiffel tower yesterday, more than the tower, I like the very colourful backgrounds it have every time, this is how it looked yesterday)
  5. Varied work - definitely, I am more than sure that I have varied work! Hmmm! sometimes tooo varied too.
  6. Doing something worthwhile - my thesis committee have to decide that!
  7. Making a difference - I think, I do! even if I am a day late from vacation or when I oversleep in some mornings, i do get an SMS from colleagues or boss to make sure I am alive. so I guess my presence at work do make some difference.
  8. Part of a successful team - Not sure, my team is just me and my boss...its difficult to define the success, may be my thesis committee will decide that in an year.
  9. Achievements recognized - In an small scale yes! I was selected for various conferences to present my work. In bigger scale, need to wait and see.
  10. Competitive salary - As a PhD student, I can't complain about the salary I am getting(in spite of it being too tight!)
Well!according to BBC with all these criteria, I am suppose to be happy, atleast have enough motivation to work and not writing my blog like this. let me get back to my work, anyways secret of happiness is to count our blessings I suppose!

Image buildup continues…

I guess most of us agree that building image, creates conflicts by why still we do it? JK answers it too.

If I had no concept about myself, what would happen to me?
Why have I, who have lived forty, fifty, sixty—or whatever number of years it is that one has lived—why have I gathered this store-houseful of what I think, what I feel, what I am, what I should be, this accumulation of experience, knowledge? And if I had not done that, what would happen? Do you understand? If I had no concept about myself, what would happen to me? I would be lost, wouldn’t I? I would be uncertain, terribly frightened of life. So I build an image, a myth, a concept, a conclusion about myself, because without this framework life would become for me utterly meaningless, uncertain, fearful: there would be no security. I may be secure outwardly; I may have a job, a house, and all the rest of it, but inwardly also I want to be completely secure. And it is the desire to be secure that compels me to build this image of myself, which is verbal. Do you understand? It has no reality at all; it is merely a concept, a memory, an idea, a conclusion.

August 27, 2007

Why does one create an image about oneself?

After writing the previous blog, I was thinking about why we want to create our own identity by affiliating ourselves to a country or a culture. I feel this type of affiliation creates a prejudiced view about other culture which we are not affiliated to. Moreover, when we create an image of ourselves of what we want/have to be, without acknowledging what we are, we end up having conflicts with ourselves and with our surrounding.

I read this thought provoking quote of JK, which came as an answer for few questions I had in mind, after writing my previous blog.

Why does one create an image about oneself? One has an idea, a symbol of oneself, an image of oneself, what one should be, what one is, or what one should not be. Why does one create an image about oneself? Because one has never studied what one is, actually. We think we should be this or that: the ideal, the hero, the example. What awakens anger is that our ideal, the idea we have of ourselves, is attacked. And our idea about ourselves is our escape from the fact of what we are. But when you are observing the actual fact of what you are, no one can hurt you. Then, if one is a liar and is told that one is a liar, it does not mean that one is hurt: it is a fact. But when you are pretending you are not a liar and are told that you are, then you get angry, violent. So we are always living in an ideational world, a world of myth, and never in the world of actuality. To observe what is, to see it, actually be familiar with it, there must be no judgment, no evaluation, no opinion, no fear.

- J. Krishnamurty

August 24, 2007

West as we see it!

In my previous entry I wrote that I am very lucky with friends. But the ‘oldest’ friendship I have now is just 7 years old. I lost my ‘old’ friends in the same speed as I get new friends. Especially after coming to Paris, some because of physical distance and some because of the psychological distance. In my process of adapting to new place, I have changed, not the changes forced on me by the society, but the changes I enjoy and the changes which made me mingle with the new environment, but my ‘old’ friends living with a bundle of prejudiced view about western society, is not able to see me mingling in that. It created lots of friction and arguments with friends. Sometimes, I feel that we don’t speak the same language anymore. Yesterday, I rediscovered one of more friend from my university days. Preethi, after the masters she moved to USA for Phd and got married to an American. Finally I got an 'old friend' in my boat, who can understand my language. As we were talking about our process of adaptation, I found that we have fought against similar myths

The common western society myth, that we fought.

  • Platonic friendship doesn’t exist here. Indian girls should not discuss their problems with western men, in process of consoling you; men may take ‘advantage’ of you.(sex is very easily available in west they don’t have to make such big diplomatic efforts to get that, I feel they see a opposite sex relationship more objectively than we do.)
  • The bar is a place for drunkards and for one night stand (you know in the bar they server fruit juices, coffee and tea too)
  • Being gay is not a natural thing, it’s a ‘new’ disease of the west, keep away from them.(my gay friends have cried in my shoulders during their break up, their tears were more than real and natural. suppressed in the east doesn’t mean that its absent there).
  • Vegetarians have to starve to death in west. (All the places I have traveled so far I was able to get vegetarian food. Some places its bit difficult but its not completely impossible.
  • Westerners don’t have family values and bondage (after living with Micha’s and Anton’s families in the past two summers, I didn’t see any difference between an eastern family, in fact they are more frank to their parents than we are)

We are all human, there are some superficial differences, but still we are the same species. Thanks to orkut, I am very happy I found Preethi!

August 23, 2007

chinna chinna asai (little wishes!)

Today I had two hours of discussion about who is happier in life, a married lady (her) whose children are not obeying her or a single girl (me).I was telling her about my vacation and I realized that in the last 7 years, this last one month was an unique uninterrupted happy days. I did many things which I dreamt about and many which I didn’t dare to dream of too. There were many things which I did for the first time in life.

  • Snorkeling and swimming in the sea, seeing the underwater fish.
  • Attended a calm and quite ‘French’ wedding, and a crazy, fun-filled Spanish wedding
  • Spent nights sleeping in tents and in open pasture counting starts.
  • Crossed three countries in three hours (France, Spain and Andorra)
  • Went in a motor bike for almost 200 kms at 120 km/hr speed
  • Went into the sea in a sail boat.
  • Did archery(I showed a better performance against my close rival Anton)
  • Experienced near death experience, experienced free fall from 180 mts height, in standing position. (In port aventura theme park)
  • went upside down eight times in a rollercoaster
  • Tried fishing.(saw fish happily eating from my fishing rod, may be they knew that I am allergic to them)
  • Met many new people across 11 different countries (Spanish, French, British, Australian, Italian, Argentinean, Brazilian, German, Israeli, Dutch, Danish) That too this 12 different nationalities (including me) got together to cook for 70 mediators.
  • Cooked for 70 mediators for 7 days.
  • Went to a holy place, and offered prayers (may be after 2 years)
  • I ate a special type of Spanish cured (Iberian ham) Well, it’s a cultural thing of Spain to offer it to their guests it seems. They convinced me saying that the pig is vegetarian (special type made from pigs which are grown up on a vegetarian diet)
  • Made some extra piercing in my ears (believe me it was my long term dream)
  • Got some hands on experience in Spanish kitchen (thanks to Anton’s Mom)

Well! My mom believes that Saturn moved away from my moon sign, so right now Saturn will do all good in my life it seems, so she thanked Saturn for my exciting vacation But I believe that I am lucky to have wonderful friends around me, I thank Anton, his family and friends, who made this vacation very memorable.

August 22, 2007

Gray weather but pleasant memories...

How does it feel to meet a friend after 6 years? Sometimes it can be a pleasant surprise, but sometimes we might have evolved apart, so it may be a pleasant shock. Today I had a pleasant surprise meeting, Praveen a friend from my collage days in Madurai Kamaraj University, now he just joined a lab in my institute. After six years we are neighbors once again. Inspite of the gray weather, it was nice to show him around my lab neighborhood, the Latin quarter of Paris. (Since there are many old educational/research institutes, once upon a time it was very common to hear Latin in this neighborhood it seems) It was nice to talk about the nice old collage days and it was a nice coincidence that I got my old photo scanned from my mom today, Hmmm! All the girls with me in that picture is mother of one or more kids now and that’s Praveen in the entrance of our institute, ENS.

August 21, 2007

a warm start and a cold end…

Yesterday morning as I was finishing my summer vacation, Anton’s parents took us to a very beautiful restaurant in the country side, in the middle of olive tree orchard, wow! I have never seen so many old olive trees together at the same place. It looked like a tall bonsai, thick trucks like an old tree but not so tall, it was cute. Started the day like this in the sunny Spain with warm people, but sun didn’t stay with me for long as I took the flight (not the crappy one this time) the weather in north of France was so bad that there was a big time turbulence and also delay in because of the bad weather. Gray, rainy and cold and the add to all these nice aspects the train which I was suppose to take from the airport was down, finally will all the changes it took me 4 hours to reach home from the airport (instead of 40 min) I don’t know if it happens only to me, take a flight for an hour but spend up to 6 hours just commuting to the airport. Paris didn’t have summer this year it seems. So, thus I finished my summer and summer vacation, but I have more stories about Spain to share, anyways the weather is bad here and some of my friends are not yet back from the vacation, I can spend time in recalling my sunny days and keep updating my blog. I have put on 4 kgs in a month, well! I should atleast write one more entry about the Spanish food.

August 20, 2007

In a tiny country called…

Just three years back, I didn’t even dare to day dream about traveling in different countries even though I had the strong quest inside me. During my vacation, on our way to the camping site in the Pyrenees, we had a lunch break in a tiny country called Andorra. Just few months back I got to know about the existence of a country between Spain and France. It’s a country with low tax (a pack of cigarettes which costs 45 euros in Paris, costs 17 euros here). So the whole country is like a big shopping mall and ski resort embedded in a beautiful mountain range, No wonder people here have the highest human life expectancies on earth. There was a long queue of people driving in and out of this country from Spain and France, just to do their weekend shopping. For me, apart from offering a very nice lunch, this country also increased the count of countries visited in last two years to 10.

In a little sail boat...

As a kid, I saw the movie Jaws by Steven Spielberg, since then I have a terrible ‘sea’ phobia, I feel that sharks are just waiting in shore for me, never had courage to enter the sea beyond my knee depth water. Now that I am spending my vacation, in the Mediterranean coast, that too with the marine biologist, who does sea diving as a hobby, I got little courage to snorkel up to two feet depth. This weekend, we went in Anton friend’s sail boat to go into the sea beyond my usual 2 feet. The sea was rough and I was completely ignorant of the risks we had while unfolding and folding the sail on a windy day. It was more fun and exciting like my roller coaster experience, specially since the men on wheel and sail kept me ignorant about the tough time they had controlling the sail, till we reached the shore.

August 17, 2007

Wonders of Catalonia - Montserrat

Discovering the wonders of Catalonia, yesterday we went up to Montserrat. Thanks to Anton’s parents who took us there. It was breath taking experience of spiritual and geographical wonder of Catalonia. This whole mountain range with very unique structures was formed of sedimentation of pebbles, with many evidences that this region was under the ocean, millions of years ago. When you have a closer look at the rocks, it seems to be just a pile of pebbles.
Adding beauty to the range is the few centuries old monastery and the temple of black virgin, which beautifully survived the civil wars, worst forest fires, land slides and floods. The black virgin of Montserrat is believed to be doing miracles in peoples life , even when your rational mind refuse to believe this, the calm and a very unique spiritual experience I had in this place, made me take a candle and pray for the good and naïve hearts who worry about me. Let the black virgin take them out of their ignorance and show them the path of bliss. More photos of Montserrat!