December 15, 2008

Growing Older!

I love birthdays because I feel it’s a new chapter in life, and helps me to compare with earlier chapters and think about the changes, psychologically and emotionally. I am happy to see that I am not as silly as I was 10 years back! I think about the mistakes I made and the lessons I learnt, all the lessons that life taught me with its smiles and tears!

I often wonder why people are so happy to hear that they don’t look for their age and feel proud about being ‘young at heart’! If a 10 year old looks and behaves like a 3 year old, it can be scary and annoying right? Then why do we all like to get stuck in our ‘youth’? Is it not great to feel older, experienced and wiser with all the lessons we learn in life?

Yesterday, my friends threw surprise party and poured lots of love, gifts in the form fragrances and light, food and champagne, in a home away from home.

December 13, 2008

A Buddist tale!

I try not to write my blog when I am too emotional about something. I feel I may not be able to see things objectively when I am too emotional. One such entry that I regret is the “mean world syndrome”!
We are all like blind men, in the Buddhist tale, trying to understand an elephant, the reality! Each of us just try to accumulate the facts and try to rationalize and celebrate that as our victory in understanding the world. Let us not jump into conclusions with our half-knowledge about the reality! The world is neither mean nor rosy... its infinite....billions and billions of years old! Let’s explore it together! Calling it by names will make us as ignorant as these blind men in the elephant tale!
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

-- John Godfrey Saxe

Image source!

December 08, 2008

Tara in Paris

How does it feel to spend 507 days in a small 36m sail boat? Especially when it is not sailing, just drifting through the Arctic ice (following the above route)...and after deliberately getting locked in the ice and all they can do is to study the climate change... and wait for the ice to melt and unlock the boat ..at -41°C temperature.. with 230 days of complete darkness and 230 days of complete sunshine...
Now...How does it feel to step into that sail boat along with people who did the above adventure? Truly.. top of the world right? That’s how I feel today, after talking to the people and partying with them in their very own sail boat, Tara. Tara, the little boat is now resting in Paris river seine and thanks to our boss who took us there.

Today as Grant Redvers, the only person along with the captain spent the complete 507 days was describing his adventures. Once they had to even make a kilometre long runway over the frozen ice manually for their visitor’s flight it seems.

Sam, the engineer of the Tara said that just being inside the boat which is surrounded by 5 feet tall ice constantly crushing their boat and making weird sounds was pretty adventurous it seems. Wow! What a trip! I wonder what drives the scientist.... It’s definitely not the money or fame; I guess it’s the unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

End of this trip, the scientists were left with only disappointment that their trip was 200 days shorter than their plan..reason..the ice melted much faster than they expected....global warming?

Now Tara is getting ready with my boss and other collaborators for the next project this time not cutting the ice, but for a cutting edge metagenomics project!

Check out these success stories of Tara!

Ice boat details ozone collapse!

Boat sails free from icy shackles!

December 06, 2008

Overseas citizen of India

I do not understand why India doesn’t allow its citizens to have dual citizenship? Today my brother became a Canadian citizen and unfortunately he have to surrender his Indian passport. Although he is eligible to get this Overseas Citizen of India card, he will lose his right to vote, to serve for Indian government and buy agricultural land in India. One vote less in our process to get a corruption free government for India but may be one vote more to get a stable Canadian government! I don’t know why I was more emotional about it than my brother, after experiencing what I am going through now, I can’t even dream about giving up my Indian passport!

December 05, 2008

Rest in peace!

The mother of the kitten died yesterday in an accident, leaving her 4 kitten in our backyard. Now my mother adopted them, luckily they are big enough to eat. But how are they going to learn to go out, how will they learn to hunt? And survive the Indian street dogs. I hope they have stronger instincts to survive this tough world as orphans.

December 04, 2008

Some colours!

My retired parents were so bored at home, specially when all their friends living with their children and busy with their grandchildren, added more fuel to the fire. Luckily they started keeping themselves busy, my dad started expanding the house and shops, constructing and reconstructing , adding more colour to this Madurai street Thanks Micha for the photo! (Micha! Sorry! I actually stole that photo from the face book!). My mom joined a university, she was a very intelligent student during her school days it seems, unfortunately she was forced to discontinue her studies and got married at 14. Now she is happy to join the university again and this time to learn her favourite alternate medicine. Hmm! More over now they have these cute little guests in their home. This will keep them busy for sometime!

December 03, 2008

The Mean-world syndrome

Today, I was shocked to see some facts about terrorist attacks in India. “12,540 terrorist-related fatalities in India between 1970 and 2004 - an average of almost 360 fatalities per year from terrorism in India”! This is just a fraction of the problem that India is facing, with so many natural calamities every year, surviving tsunami, earth-quakes, floods, uncountable number of spreading diseases, corrupted government and poverty etc. etc. All these facts should make an Indian live in a chronic depression, on contrary we live with an immense pride about the nation and overwhelming optimism about the future. I am sure anyone who travel in India can notice this contrast, can notice lots of smiles among the slum dwellers. How on earth is this possible? The only other place where I noticed people with overwhelming confidence and optimism was in Israel. Do we need threats on everyday basis to be 'happy'?

Here in Paris, I often heard people talking about “how mean the world is”! Compare to India, people here face ‘less’ problems, at least most of the people’s basic needs are guaranteed. Then why there is a dissatisfaction and disbelief with life? May be as a result of “Mean-world syndrome”? When people start collecting facts about the world through mass media (television and Internet) and being less social can lead to creation of a virtual reality, the mean-world! After all “reality is a less threatening place than the world of television”! Both believing the facts shown by media blindly (leading to mean-world syndrome) and disbelieving them blindly, leading the conspiracy theories and in turn result in the mean-world syndrome. So, is there an escape from the virtual reality that we create by accepting/refusing the media 'facts'? May be travelling and socializing can force us to do some reality check, and can add some confidence and optimism in our lives, after all the world is not as mean as we imagine it to be!

December 02, 2008

Computers!

I wanted to run one last program for my Phd , just a simple python script, but struggling for weeks with it. The program first asked for the latest version python ....ok! Done! Next asked for Biopython, Started installing this... but it asked for a latest version of C complier, Ok! Look for the C compiler, it asked me to upgrade the source files...Ok! Done! Next is the usual stuff ...restart the computer and guess what? After upgrading so many stuffs, it failed to start! Spent 3 hours creating a boot disk, running to the system administrator (as usual the concern person is on vacation for a week) ! Out of frustration, was explaining my problem to my colleague, showing him all the methods I tried to restart my computer, and my computer let me down, started as if it never had a problem before! How on earth is that possible, a computer which refused to start for 3 hours, working without any problem? Alexis, my colleague and my saviour was trying to convince me that its his good vibration and good karma, but finally found out that it was my stupidity, my ipod was connected to this computer for charging and so it was trying to boot from the USB (as it first in the boot sequence)! My God! these computers...!
My writings are still not going as fast as I thought, still feeling bit more positive, after spending the weekend lighting the first advent candle in a German church with delicious German Christmas cookies and cakes ! And spending time with this little angel Nivi added lots fresh air!

November 23, 2008

Memento!

"I have to believe in a world outside my own mind.
I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can’t remember them.
I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world is still there.
Do I believe the world is still there? Is it still out there? Yeah!
We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different.
Now, where was I?"
-Memento


I felt I got an answer for a question which was bothering me for a while; I felt I got an answer from the movie memento. The above finishing lines of the movie were enlightening!

November 04, 2008

Damm ! Google ads.

Look at this! A screen shot of my gmail inbox with an ‘automated’ ad. message popping up! Damm! This artificial intelligence, which is putting me in sleepless nights!

Story of a Fruit fly, a Paris researcher and an Indian house wife!

This tiny fruit flies which we often find very annoying, annoyed the USA vice presidential candidate too. Not just these flies but also the people who do research on these flies in Paris, France. As a Biologist doing research in Paris, I thought it is my duty to explain how great we both are, the fruit flies and the researcher in Paris.
First about these Fruit flies, I got personally introduced to them in India by my friend Neha, who is doing her PhD on these flies, I have spent some weekends in her lab, just trying to make these flies mate in with their right partners, for a controlled genetic study. In French there is a saying, “F#@k a fly”, obviously only they know how difficult this job can be. Why then these annoying flies? We have to blame Thomas Hunt Morgan, an American scientist who did some genetics experiments with these flies and proved the mechanism of transferring character from the parents to the offspring through the genes in chromosome. Unfortunately he also got the Nobel Prize for Medicine, just working on these silly fruit flies. From that horrible day, these fruit flies which also share 75% human disease related genes, faithfully living under a controlled matting environment, in the biological labs as a faithful genetics model organism. All this scarifies because of its short life span, which makes it possible to compare the grandmother’s characters to that of the granddaughter’s just in matter of few weeks. Since The Madam, ‘potential president of USA’ is not so happy about these flies, maybe we should try to find and alternative, the closest alternative which strikes my mind is the “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” (Because a Mother-in-law was once a Daughter-in-law too), an Indian TV soap opera family, which is running for past 8 years around . The Protagonist, a melancholic Indian house wife has seen 6 generations along with her grandma, who is potentially 300+ years old. When Protagonist’s husband died in this soap, Indian house wives, who identify themselves with the Protagonist, went on road in protest (I swear this happened!) and got the character back to life! So maybe this family will be an ideal candidate for genetic studies after the fruit flies, Oh! No! Just this very month this soap is also forcefully terminated it seems, hope there is no riots in India right now! Forget the flies, now it is time to think about the Paris researcher and about their sacrifices. Living one of the world’s most expensive city with a tiny research stipend and with all the worlds sensual pleasures just at your door step, we have to control all our five senses and go to lab and follow the mating of fruit flies and diatoms. Now, who is making a bigger sacrifice, Fruit flies, Paris researchers or the Indian house wives? A very tough question to answer! So let us just say “F#@k a fly” to whoever mock our sacrifices.

November 03, 2008

Just one more day?

I don’t know if my recent amusement addiction will be just for one more day or 4 more years!


This is the cherry on the top! Well! I may miss you lady..may be not.. I have an equally amuzzing lady in my home state Tamil Nadu! Is it a lethal combination, Women and politics? Someone please prove me wrong!

November 01, 2008

Let there shall be light and colours!

Breaking the silence... I am back to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of my blog! The silent October passed by with few celebrations, but most of the days before my computer, just writing and writing. Well! Last 5 days, I didn’t step out of my tiny apartment in the 6th floor! I even don’t know if Paris was flooded by rain or not, I hope Monday when I will step out of my house, I will not find water till 4th floor and I can still use a bike and not a boat! Hmm! Never felt so focused about my work!

I am learning a new Statistical Computing language called R and took a resolution that until I solve my current problem using this language, I will not update my blog nor get out of my apartment! The weather was also favouring me, the work was to colour these dots according to some groups! finally I did it! I like to share the coloured plot too, but it is an unpublished data! Sorry! Blog! Need to wait to see that!

So these were some October celebrations!
  • Our paper got published in Nature! It was a great team work by 30 differnt labs may be aross 10 different countries! Here it is online!

  • One more paper got accepted in Nucleic Acids Research.

  • Andy's visit, had a fruitful discussion about the next publications!

  • Diwali and my blog’s 3rd anniversary!

3 years back, missing my friends back in India, I started this blog! Today! I have a similar lovable crowd with me! lots of colours and lights and reasons to celebrate! I will finish this anniversary entry with my childhood sweetheart’s quote “Why to fear losing in life we always win experience”!
PS: A big sorry for all those long list of unanswered mails! Hoping to be more active in the Internet this month!

October 06, 2008

Just one more..

Evertime I plan not just to post one more PhD comics strip! but it says it all! ok! one last one! So, Do I want a 'real' job?

October 02, 2008

How is your thesis coming along?

The Foreigner!

1. Vagai dam - 1 year 2. Chennai - 2 years 3. Chitampatti - 2years 4. Uthamapalayam - 1 year 5. Neyveli -2years 6. Salem- 3years 7. Namakkal -2years 8. Tuticorin-1year 9. Kumbakonam - 4years 10. Trichy - 3years 11. Madurai - 2years 12. Perambalur - few months 13. Kanchipuram - 1 year 14. Bangalore - 3years and few months 15. Paris - 3+years
These are the 15different places where I lived for the past 32 years! Oh! God! This Paris apartment is the only home where I have lived the longest ever since I was born! Every time leaving the friend and the known faces in the grocery shop/market place behind and moving on in life....it is so exhausting to live a life out of the suitcase! Breathing the free air of Paris and my wonderful friends here made me feel at home in Paris!

September 25, 2008

Its my life!

I did not go through most of the above process but still worried about the last few stages sometimes worried about 17th !

September 23, 2008

Tagged...

Yuva tagged me (http://iamyuva.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/tagged-2/)

RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

RULE #2 Tag 6 people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by continue this game by sending it to other people.

1. What is one thing which made you feel shy/ or embarrassed of yourself?
Well! There are two things! One to keep postponing my deadlines with my manuscript, I was so embarrassed to face my boss today; finally I wrote him a mail, just sitting in the next room! Next is my recent addiction to Big Boss 2, a reality show! Oh! God! Reality shows are horrible! Let me get out of it soon!

2. If you have a dream come true, what would it be?
Right Now…To finish my manuscripts and thesis without postponing it further!

3. If you could, whose butt would you like to kick?
There are quite a few! To start with people in my vicinity, two men linked with my lab one is a male chauvinist pig and the other is just a stinky pig! Well! I do kick them once in a while!

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Well! First, buy a house in Himalayas and then have some hobbies or some volunteer work, specially something which will allow me to deal with kids on daily basis and then travel once in a while to meet near and dear ones! And feed lot of people!

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?
NO!! I may sound bit cheesy and ‘bollywood’ type, but still… I ‘still’ believe in love at first sight! I think you will feel or see the spark in the very first encounter itself! Lovers can be friends; but friends can’t be lovers at least this is true in my past 10+ years experience and this blind faith is still keeping me single ;-)

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?
Blessed is definitely only when love it is mutual! Otherwise both (loving someone and being loved by someone) can be hell!

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?
Sorry! I don’t believe in waiting business!

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?
Wish them happy married life! Oh! Boy! I have done that enough in my life!

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?
Empathy! Live in others shoes!

10. Do you lie?
Yes! Yes! I do! But like to move away from people to whom I have to lie or who lie to me! Definitely they are not close to my heart! In my life always lies have got big cracks in relationship!

11. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Oh! God! I am so bad in planning! Like to take life as it comes! Just don’t want to be financially or physically dependent on anyone!

12. What’s your fear?
Right now… My laptop should not crash!

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Intelligent and philosophical!

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
Single and Rich and The rest can follow!

15. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?
As I said before, need spark to fall in love! Where ever the spark is brighter and only when and where it is well reciprocated!

16. Would you give all in a relationship?
I don’t believe in give and take policies in relationships! It is all about sharing and caring!

17. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?
I can forget and forgive provided, that someone have realized how horrible they were! Till then I will not forget to remind them how horrible they were!

18. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?
" If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;"
- Rudyard Kipling's "If"...
Now don’t ask me which is triumph and which is a disaster! I am sure it varies from person to person! But let us just learn to accept both the impostors just the same!

19. Your all time favorite song. Only ONE. And why?
One of my favorite song is this one Kurai ondrum illai ! , a song composed by the first Indian Governors-General of India (Rajaji)! Specially I like to hear this whenever I start complaining about my life, this song sort of helps me to see the sunny side of my life, specially last few days when I was walking back home without my bike, I was singing this song to myself! In short! Telling myself that I don’t have any ‘big’ problems in life! No problems and No regrets! Makes me realize that I have enough strength to face problems in life and I can handle it!

20. I TAG these 4 people because I’m sure they’ll have more interesting answers than I did!
Swati - 'eye' express
Ashgene - inspiration
Freeda - Musings and Others
Mohor - An Indian's weblog

September 20, 2008

Time for Murphy's Law!

My life is always lawful, meaning it keeps following some law or the other. Right now it is the time for Murphy's Law. Ok! Now thats the map of my locality, approximately one sq. km. and the dots on them are showing the Velib stations, this very wonderful automated bike rental system of Paris. Follow this Wikipedia link to know about the nice facts and figures of this service. I wish every town gets this service. I have enjoyed velib from time to time before, now that my bike got stolen, I took one week subscription (the maximum subscription who can take instantly). Now back to the Murphy’s law! Out of this 1000+ rental bikes in my locality, believe it or not! I never got one when I needed it the most in the last 5 days, I have to walk at least more than a km to get one and to park one!

“I never had a slice of bread,
Particularly large and wide,
That did not fall upon the floor,
And always on the buttered side.”

September 15, 2008

To my lost love!

I have to dedicate this entry to my love, someone who was with me in rains and shines, who carried me with love, also made me cry on the road, helped me financially by saving the metro pass money, I saved atleast 2000 Euros in the last 3 years because of him, I explored Paris holding his hands, had big adventure together, it was only with him I dared to break the rules, even the French police understood our love and always just gave us warnings, yes! He stood by me when I was dealing with the French traffic police, not just once but all the three times. Today finally I have to say good bye to him, I am very sad, but also in a way I expected this to happen someday, things were not going smooth for sometime, he was not behaving well in public , let me down helplessly in the middle of the road many days, started being very loud. At least for last 6 months there were thoughts flashing for moments to get rid of him, but I didn’t dare to do it! Today he got to know my intentions I guess, he just disappeared.

Now! I am mourning with my fovourite tunes! I dedicate this song to my love that I lost today and to my all love that I have lost over past few years! I miss my bike, which was stolen today! This is for you my love!

September 12, 2008

Why are you so serious?

After living in the fashion capital of world for more than 3 years, I am still not able to understand the psychology of a consumerist! How can people sleep at the entrance of an apple store just to buy an iphone? What makes people starve and save money just to buy an expensive branded hand bag? What makes people crave so much for a name tag? I don’t know! I recently read about this controversial photographs published in the Vogue magazine, showing the poor villagers posing with very expensive products! It sparked a big debate in India, some consider it as very aesthetic to see the contrast but some consider it as vulgar. Vulgar in the exaggeration, as in babies or kids playing with sex toys! Well! In my view I see the contrast in that heartfelt laughter and the expensive bag; luckily in India you see the former more than the latter! Yeah! One thing I miss the most in Paris, is the smile in people’s face and laughter in public places as we see a lot of it in India! I bet it can light up even a very gloomy environment!

September 11, 2008

No country for single women!

Exactly 7 years back on this very same day, I learnt a very expensive lesson at a cost of 10 rupees (just a fraction of a cent)! I was new to a city life, my first few years in Bangalore was lot like “the pig in the city”! Completely lost, taken by shock of peoples busy and ‘I don’t have time to care about others’ life style. I lost my purse with just with 10 rupees, but the bank card people forced me to go to police station and file a complaint. Well! Sitting in an Indian police station can be the one of the worst thing that can happen for a girl. A girl sitting alone in a police station is by default labelled as prostitute, with people giving me dirty looks I was made to sit there for 2 hours watching the policemen kicking the criminals. I was made to sit there just because I didn’t know the ‘right’ way to get the work done, finally policemen broke the ice by saying I can leave soon depending on the fees I pay, he was expecting bloody bribe just to file a complaint! Finally, I have to pay 100 rupees just to get out of that place and to go home and cry! Spent the whole day crying, until I saw the twin tower collapsing in my evening news! Well! There are bigger problems in life, may be such stupid police story will not make me cry today, may be this is called growing stronger? But still I break down under various circumstances. I have to quote a poet again “வானம் எனகொரு போத்தி மரம்! நாலும் எனக்கது சேதிதரும்! “Sky is our Bodhi tree and everyday is enlightening “! The above incident made me realize how difficult a single girl’s life can be in India, a nation with family orientated society, no country for single women!

September 09, 2008

Mini Big Bang

One of the very famous Tamil ("Women") Poet once said "கற்றது கைமனளவு , கல்லாதது உலகளவு! " "What you have learned is a mere handful; What you haven't learned is the size of the world" ! The more you agree with her, more you get grounded! Today a group of scientist got together in Franco-Swiss boarder with an aspiration to explore the 96% of unobservable matters of this universe! They are going to create a mini big bang tomorrow, probably one of the biggest experiment ever conducted ! May be they can decode the evolution of the universe or as some pessimist fear that 'it may create a black hole and swallow the universe! ' Lets just wish that nothing goes wrong! I am not just worried about the universe, it can take care of itself as it did for millions and billions of years. I am just worried about my lunch! I have a bet with Alberto, if nothing fails in this experiment, I will get a free lunch! So! Please wish for a free lunch!

August 27, 2008

Herd of Human!

Is there any factor in this world which can make the entire human race to go in a definite direction? To make everyone to agree on something, even people from the same school or a family have different opinions which influence their decisions. I still wonder what made me decide to leave the family and India when everyone around me was not supporting my decision, was that to escape from problems or the quest to discover the unknown world...I don’t know what made me the black sheep, well! I don’t regret for being one, but often wonder how the life would have been if I were a white sheep! We still don’t know about the factors controlling our life and the decisions that we make. But this latest article shows the factor which controls the grazing habit of the cattle around the world. With the help of Google earth they have found out that the cattle always graze aligning North-South. We humans so different from our counterparts in the animal kingdom enjoy this unpredictability!

August 22, 2008

Me and my laptop!

Spending my days like this, staring at and sleeping with my laptop! Rest of the time of course eating with friends and bonding with little Adi, finally he is recognizing me, that really makes me feel top of the world! Paris is almost half empty! Well thanks to the friends and visitors who are making it half full! yes! still meeting new people! unfortunately short one! let me get back to chase my deadlines!

August 15, 2008

Food for deadlines!

Sorry! I have to contradict myself again when it comes to Parkinson’s Law. Well ! as my official lab works and deadlines are growing in my limited time left for my PhD completion, my personal works and commitments are shrinking drastically. Specially in spite of having busy schedule at work, thanks to my friends who are providing me with delicious home food from Micha’s delicious German salads, Alberto’s "pasta alla siciliana", Tiziana's "frittelle di riso" (obviously Italian) to Poonam , Vas and Meena contributing to flavours of India and the French desserts.... Well! Yesterday was Vas turn to make this big dinner in his own artistic environment, nice food and good laugh will help me going with my deadlines! Thanks to all!

August 14, 2008

Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion» We can see this law works very well in Indian government offices, even the derived form of this law "Data expands to fill the space available for storage" works very well with my laptop; few months back 160 gb hard disc was full, after upgrading it to 320gb its still overflowing. But why the inverse of this law is not holding true! Especially in my case, my work never shrinks with the very limited deadlines I have. So, today’s little prayer, “please make the inverse of Parkinson’s law work for me! “

August 10, 2008

Les grandes eaux nocturnes

Yesterday Paris was blessed with one sunny day in between the horrible rainy summer. Me and my friends made full use of it by having picnic in the grand royal gardens of Versailles, to add more grace to the sunny day there was grand light, music, water and fireworks show. It was amazing to see such a majestic garden with lights and 18th century music. Well! Today Paris is back to its normal grey weather, anyways who needs the sun, when I have to spend the whole day at work!

August 08, 2008

My life!

This wall in hampi reminds me of my life, I keep complaining about the imperfect blocks, may be I should have a broader perspective, another interpretation for this wall and nice photos of hampi in my friend's blog!

August 06, 2008

Culture Shock - Speciality Bar!

Every time I lose hope, my friends put it back in me, in spite of disabling the comments in the previous entry, my friend proved me wrong yesterday, back from his trip he got me some goodies, the things which reminded me during his stroll in the London streets, one was this chocolate. Just the name and the ingredients reminded him of me it seems. White chocolate with bit of ginger and chilly,everything I like put together, it may sound odd but believe me it is really delicious. When they can create a harmony between east and west in this bar chocolate, I am sure I can create it in some corner of the world!

August 04, 2008

Heal me!

In India they say that progress in life requires shedding of sweat and blood. Well! In Paris we don’t have much reason to sweat even in summers and as a believer of Gandhi never felt the need of bloodshed but finally it seems that I cannot finish of my PhD without blood shed. I lost few millimetre of my finger along with vegetables that I chopped this weekend. I didn’t expect that this few millimetre of my finger can make such a big difference, stops me from cooking, eating ,washing and it is in such a crucial place that every time I start typing my thesis, blood oozes out. With deadline knifes hanging over my head! All I can say is, Oh! God! Heal me! and bless my friends who are providing me with food!

July 30, 2008

Volunteer...

You all know how bad I am in picking up a new language! In spite of living in Paris for more than 3 years, I still don’t know if this word ‘Volunteer’ exist in any of the Latin language or not! In my school days we had an association call National Social Service, students volunteer in this association to go to village to spread social awareness, do some cleaning etc. It was one of the very tough things I have done so far; during these services we have to live in extreme conditions and most of the places we were not welcomed! In spite of this, each year there were over flowing amount of volunteer as it gives us some sort of satisfaction, nice and peaceful sleep at the end of a very hectic 'bad' day!

Yesterday as we were organising a lab event, a friend’s thesis defence and farewell! I had tough time explaining this term ‘Volunteer’ to my Latin language speaking friends! I really wish this beautiful term do exist in Latin languages and hope that the small set of different ‘Latin speakers’ I met yesterday where ignorant of this word and the divine happiness this word gives. yeah! That should be the case as my online dictionary shows Etymology of this word volunteer as Latin(French). Otherwise It will be very scary to live in a Latin country, especially if there is a big unexpected disaster like Tsunami where the government may not be fully equipped to help the public and may end up depending on volunteers, after all its not good to live with an ego centric thought that my tax money that I pay the government can give all the security I need!

Yesterday I had a tough day and a peaceful night, the whole day revealed me the people I can count on!

July 22, 2008

Let’s blame it on ...

The second law of thermodynamics, when I was reading about that in the internet I came across a phase, “Life is hard. But it's harder if you don't know how the material world works!" We living things are physical system, which constantly uses energy in different forms and add chaos or disorder in the system. From living things just used sun as the ultimate source of energy, to the present days where the accessory energies like the fossil fuel and nuclear energy is becoming indispensable. Now the big debate is these accessory energies really indispensable? This big question put the world’s biggest democracy into test today. After living in two counties, one where these energies are used extensively and the other sparingly, I think I can say that the people’s life is been accelerated with the use of these energies. Life is no more as slow as this elephants carrying electronic voting device. Well! I do enjoy the speed TGV. But today after seeing people around me running around so fast and making me run behind them in the speed of TGV just to get a simple help like making a phone call in French, I would definitely vote for a calm and quite elephant raid in a green forest than to jump between two 500 miles apart castles in TGV. Well! My vote was not counted and thus I failed today! Today all the people I wanted to be with me were too far to access. Let’s blame it on “second law of thermodynamics”!

July 20, 2008

Near death experience

In India I grew up hearing that the extreme conditions in life add wisdom and make us mature gracefully in life. There are many spiritual practices which make the person suffer physically and mentally to achieve spiritual wisdom in life! I don’t know how far it works but I have read few incidents of ‘near death experience’ bringing drastic change in people’s life, may be such incidents give us a different view of our life and the bitter reality that we are living. Its believed that Dr. Alfred Nobel , created the ‘Nobel Prize’ after reading his erroneous publication of his premature obituary titled Le marchand de la mort est mort ("The merchant of death is dead") "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday."!

Well! All premature obituaries will not have the same effect, especially in the incident where CNN.com mistakenly removed the password of their stored obituary pages and these obituaries where written mainly using 3 keys in the keyboard ctrl-C and crtl-V which resulted in calling Dick Cheney 'UK's favorite grandmother', Pope's 'love of racing' and Castro as 'lifeguard, athlete, movie star'.

Ok! Finally hoping that extreme conditions and difficulties I am facing in finishing my thesis will add something to my ‘growth’ and making a resolution that I will not follow my colleague’s advice to use “ctrl-C and crtl-V” to make the writing faster and easier, I am learning one more tough lesson in life!

July 17, 2008

Jaane Tu ... Ya Jaane Na

Jaane Tu ... Ya Jaane Na (Whether you know... or not)

Bollywood is still ridiculed by many here in the west but how do they know that it is the best medicine for loneliness, stress and depression! You can just switch off the brain for some time, go to a dream world, far from the bitter reality and have some stimulant for eyes and ears! Even in a depressing day, how can you resist to smile along with Amir Khan or Shahrukh Khan ! Now it is time for the next generation Khan, I saw Imran Khan’s new movie this weekend! Yes! Obviously made me feel old! But he is equally entertaining as other khans! After the big success of all the new comers, I was not able to stop myself from reading the director’s interview…I felt.. well… that is me talking! Someone had once felt the same way as I am feeling recently , but found a way out and got a big success! Here is interview with my little changes to make it suit me! So, the bottom-line is not just the bollywood movie, even their interview can put some hope back in your life! (You know it or not, you accept it or not)

Tyrewala: I went through this really productive phase where I developed three films, one of them happened to be Jaane Tu. Then came a point where I went through depression, writer's block and an intense feeling of loneliness. And I suddenly realised, 'what the hell I've been sitting in a room and typing away on a computer for 12 years. Honestly, I was going to start having conversations with the walls. I desperately needed to be out, working with people because I was losing touch with them. I was so comfortable not interacting with people because I believed human beings are a useless species. (including me) So, for me the biggest challenge was to trust people again and counting on a hundred others to do their job so I could do mine. And that is really what the whole journey of Jaane Tu was about.

NDTV: Depression, writer's block, loneliness, not being able to trust people what happened there?

Tyrewala: I've been unlucky in love. I've been in relationships (including friends and family) that didn't suit my heart, my temperament and my personality. My only way of dealing with that was having a complete breakdown. That's how my system deals with things. It happens once every 10 years year, but I'm done with it now, because I'm quite happy(???)

July 15, 2008

Hammam!

Had a nice long weekend, totally refreshing, celebrated my friend’s birthday with total cleansing of body and mind, body with a Turkish bath and mind with lots of laughter. One of my favourite place in my working quarter is ‘ La mosquée’, a masque with an Arabic style garden tea shop, a restaurant with all the best Arabic sweet and food you can imagine and a nice Hammam! Obviously getting together with friends I love in this beautiful place was so much of fun!

July 13, 2008

La Vie de Bohême

Yeah! I am back, of course in a bit better shape, after a nice Friday dinner with boss and lab’s guest. It is nice to meet new people from scientific world, always I get to know many new scientific stuffs and some random discussions about the place we live, visit etc. etc. Our guest came from all the way from Seattle with a mountain bike and did a small tour de ‘France’ (Bretagne). One of the topic came up during our discussion was about the famous French people like scientist, singers etc. and always we end up meeting famous people very casually in the supermarkets, streets etc. For example today I had lunch in an Indian restaurant with Susheela Raman (British-Tamil pop singer) in the next table. And during our evening tea break in our friends Indian antique shop, we had Brigitte Fontaine (French actress singer) walking in the shop, tried an Indian antique dress. Today after seeing both I can say be it an Indian or French pop singer it is “La Vie de Bohême”! Ok! For people who don’t know them...
Brigitte Fontaine ...
Susheela Raman...

July 08, 2008

To meet and part!

Last few weeks was spent in just saying bye-bye to friends and colleagues so, obviously lots of eating, drinking, celebrating the successful completion of thesis, masters project, getting a fellowship etc. etc. Many many people leaving/joining the lab and that makes me one of the older members of the lab. Almost the complete crowd you see in the below photo was not there when I joined the lab, it makes me wonder what bids us so strongly just in a very short period of time and makes us come together in rain and shine! I will miss my lab! This condition was described as a part of learning, in a couplet, almost 2000 years back by the Tamil poet, Tiruvalluvar in one of Tamil's most celebrated work Thirukkural .

"உவல்ப்பத் தலைக்கூடி உள்ளப் பிரிதல்
அனைத்தே புலவர் தொழில்."

You meet with joy, with pleasant thought you part; Such is the learned scholar's wonderous art! .


July 03, 2008

Academia here I come!

I am now starting the most difficult part of my PhD, writing the thesis. Last few weeks I was messing up with an manuscript, with that fear being a part of my depression, I almost lost all my hope of finishing my Phd in time, till I spoke to my boss yesterday,we had similar conversation and he made me realize that when I have enough facts (wait! its not made up) I can make a thesis by approaching the conclusion by describing my results step by step! Thank you boss! Academia here I come!

July 02, 2008

I demand euphoria!

Today the Eiffle tower was matching with my mood! Not really, today was not that bad, got some good news about my publications! I hope I am not becoming like Calvin in saying "Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!"

June 30, 2008

Monday Blues!

End of very exhausting working weekend, well! Working will not be that exhausting but end of weeks of work if you find yourself in square one, it is very depressing! And when you are depressed the stupid mind trys to recall all the incidents since your childhood which made you cry and cry for all the people you have lost in the life, yesterday night I was exactly doing that! Paris is the 15th city that I am living since I was born, on an average I have not lived more than 2 to 3 years in a town. So I cried for almost all the people I lost from the past towns and cities I lived. I started adapting my language to communicate with the people I am interacting with me now, so me and my lost people have grown apart so much that we may not be even speaking the same language anymore and my new language don’t have enough vocabulary to describe my lost cities and people to my new city and people!

June 27, 2008

petit monsieur

I recently read an article about travelling and they say that the worlds best travellers are the Japanese. Yesterday, after hearing two generation of the travelling stories from my Japanese friend Toru , I should say indeed they are the best travellers. More than 32 years back (before Toru was born) Toru's grandfather Mr.Yamasaki, a retired high school art teacher, also fondly called as 'petit monsieur', started travelling around the world with is painting kit and frozen the colours of Europe,Asia and America in his canvas. After 32 years his grandson carrying his grandfather's paintings and photographs is trying to rediscover the places, the people who modeled for the paintings and even some of his grandfathers paintings hanging in in cafes and galleries. It was amazing to see the photos and painting collection of Paris in 70s, believe me nothing changed in Paris for more than 30 years, the streets, the terrace cafe and even the chairs of the garden are just the same. The most impressive part was his grandfather's devotion towards art, when he was 60 he met with an accident and lost the ability to paint with his right hand and so the next 15 years he learned and painted using his left hand it seems! Yesterday evening during our French class farewell drink, Toru showed us two painting books, one with paintings painted using right and the other using the left hand. We had a nice evening talking in french with our french teacher and her friend, who was even able to spot her current appartment in one of 70's paintings!

In the above photo is Mr. Yamasaki painting with his left hand in canal saint-martin, taken in 1976 (photo taken from : http://www.petit-monsieur.com/gallery/index.htm)

Below are some photos from yesterday evening with my french class students and the teacher in the 'intellectual's square' (Place de la Sorbonne ).

June 25, 2008

Rhythm of life!

Yesterday went to one of the best concert ever! Zakir Hussain played with sarangi and a sitar player ! He show how can we get the rhythm even out of the most chaotic Indian traffic! I am sure we can find a rhythm and a melody even in the most chaotic thing. The melodious rhythm I have in my chaotic, random life are my friends!

June 23, 2008

Decision Making

I hate cross roads in life, the only place in life where I have to think and make some decisions. I am approaching the next big cross road in life, I have to soon make a decision about what I want to do after my PhD, where I would like to go etc. The very thought of this decision making makes me panic and put me back into those sleepless nights. I started falling in love with Paris, specially because of my friends and a very understanding boss I have here, but still don't have courage to dream about settling down in Paris. I would rather prefer to settle down in a smaller town where people have 'more' time for each other and more closer to nature. The feminine side of me is still looking for the unconditional love and a secured future but the wanderlust in me is tempting me to explore the unknown land, culture and people, which means more cultural confrontations and more struggle. Can we make some logical decisions for our own future? I see my life as a big chaos, how much of thinking and decision making can bring some order in this chaotic life? Well! If I go back little in the past, I never had freedom to take decisions in my life, the society, the culture, my lusts and the people I loved added more and more chaos in my life. Now can I get rid of this factors and make a decision in life?

June 22, 2008

Sainte Chapelle

I am still enjoying the benefits of my french class, my french teacher organize a beautiful evening in one of the most beautiful chapel I have ever visited. Thanks to her, me and friends got a affordable deal to a classical music (Vivaldi four seasons) concert by 'Les Solistes Français' in this gorgeous venue, Sainte Chapelle. The place and the concert was just breathtaking!

June 20, 2008

Victory is Mine!

Now I can believe in my instincts more firmly than ever, I passed my french exams! Quoting Stewie from Family guy, I can now say "Victory is Mine"!

Stewie: [holding a box] You know, Mother, life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get. Your life, however, is more like a box of ACTIVE GRENADES! [opens the box, revealing grenades] Now I'll offer you one last chance for deliverance. Return my mind-control device...or be destroyed.

Lois(mother): Oh, you just want your toy back. Okay, here you go hun. [places his device on the grenades in the open box]

Stewie: Yes, well... Victory is mine!!

June 19, 2008

one more test!

I learned Hindi for 10 years and watched 1000s of bollywood movies, but still didn’t have courage to speak Hindi until few years back! But they expect me to speak French just in level one? This is not fair; anyway I need to go to this unfair French oral test in an hour, I need to take this to fulfill my mission towards French level 2! Yes! I can do this; a very rewarding fun filled weekend is waiting for me! A concert and a friend from Israel are just waiting are just round the corner!

June 17, 2008

My Tiger Instincts

I have my final French exam in less than 2 hours and I am only depending on my Tiger instincts to clear my level one! From morning everyone in my lab is trying to give tips and have small chats in French and almost everyone unanimously lost hope that I can get into level 2. So, this will be good test for my Tiger instincts! Not sure if French is very difficult or I am dyslexic!

June 16, 2008

Good, Bad and Ugly!

That’s how my day was,Good because I felt happy to help someone in the bus today! As usual the trains were on strike and there were two foreigners got stuck outside the metro station without knowing how to get back to their hotel which was in a remote suburb of Paris, they were happy to see me talking in English, I gave them the mobile to get help from the train helpline....no luck! And then I dialled my usual ‘dial a friend’ helpline, called my dear Micha ‘Mikipedia’ and no surprise he gave some instructions for them to get back to their destination. They were literally in tears! This brought some tears in my eyes too! Micha can I give your mobile number in my blog as helpline for people who got lost in Paris? Anyways you speak English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and now a bit of Hindi and Tamil too, so it will be very useful..No? Yes? No! Ok! I already did a Bad and ugly thing for today, so I will not do one more!

Bad part of the day! I got money from one of my best friend for doing a very silly help this weekend, Am I not evil? I tried my level best not to take it, but he literally twisted my hands in the road to put this money in my bag! My dear Alci, you are bad! but thanks for the Japanese dinner!

And the ugly, People who read my blog may know that I have great group of friends , whom I am very proud of, In the same way I am very ugly when I feel uncomfortable in a relationship and sometimes I feel I am very rude as I start taking steps away from these uncomfortable circumstances. I have lost some friends in this way and touch wood many are back with me after understanding and eliminating the conditions which made our relationship uncomfortable! Most of the time, time is the healer! I need to learn to avoid such Ugly condtions!

June 14, 2008

Dasavathram

I don’t remember when I last saw a Tamil movie in a theatre, may be 5 years before? Yesterday decided to go and see my first Tamil movie in Paris. First about the Theatre, anything in Paris linked with India means mess and delay, like the Indian embassy and even the theatre. The show was at 6, we reached there at 5:20 and they didn’t start giving tickets till 6:30(no one was there even to give us the reason for the delay) and finally the movie started almost at 7. And then a 30 minutes of interval and then again the movie was stopped for 30 minutes (again no reason was given) There were no place even to buy water; we were forced to buy their local bottled kola (a cola with k). It was after 4 hours since we reached the theatre, we have not even seen half of the movie, obviously people were annoyed and started smoking inside the theatre, to a add fun we were locked inside a smoky room without water and no movie, after some people screamed and threatened to call police , the movie was restarted. So we spent solid 6 hours to see a movie, dying of thirst and the suffocating smoke.

All this to see Kamel Hassan’s ‘Dasavatharam’ (meaning ten avatars). In Hindu mythology this refers to the ten incarnation of a Hindu deity, Vishnu and its believed that he reincarnates every time to save the world, In this movie the hero plays 10 different characters, obviously not to save the world as he even plays a role as George Bush! I went to see the movie with the curiosity how the different characters from a 12th century Hindu saint to George bush was linked in Tamil story. The link was well made, but disappointed to see so many flaws in the Kamel Hassan’s movie , the graphics was not so good, with so much of advancement in graphics, the flaw in graphics(in few scenes)gives the feeling of 80s movies. Out of 10 roles almost 7 roles were very well done, with wonderful acting and different body language, the rest three roles seems to be just a dummy with a mask, like the tall guy, George Bush and even that of the American ex-CIA. But Kamel’s acting and the comedy in the movie will make us over look all the flaws and enjoy the movie, even in the most horrible theatre.

June 11, 2008

Night Shyamalan

Hmmm! I am now sitting at home and updating my blog just because I was too scared to go and see Night Shyamalan’s new movie with my friends. I still consider sixth sense as one the best movie I have ever seen, the screenplay with a big twist at the end of the movie..it was just great, but the bad part was , I watched sixth sense and the village back to back and was not able sleep for almost a week, I started seeing dead people as soon as I went to bed and closed my eyes! The soft corner I have for him is just not for his movies, I use to admire his guts, being an Indian and doing something non conventional and not being another software engineer in USA. One have to be an Indian to understand how difficult it is to do something unconventional, I discussed this with few well know NRI (non residence Indian) scientist I met recently in Germany, everyone’s life is a struggle, especially when they try to convince their family to do something nonconventional, like marrying an westerner or getting into an ‘odd’ career etc. In a recent Night Shyamalan’s interview he talks about how difficult it was to convince his parents about the movie business until he got the ‘Padma Shri’ one of the very high civilian award by the Indian government.

Now I need to do two things, one to gather courage to watch ‘the happening’ and then to convince my parents for my post-doc, for them the idea of a girl living abroad struggling with very little money in the name of science sounds very strange! Well! How can I convince them that I am happier this way than sitting at home and commanding four servants to work for me in India!

June 09, 2008

Sunday walk

Yesterday, Back in Paris catching up with friends had a long random walk, I didn’t expect that discovery can continue even in such random walks, first I was introduced to the photographs of Bharat Sikka, some of his portraits were amazing. Like this one…
www.flickr.com
Then during the dinner walk with Fred and Alberto, we ended up talking about antimatter, Fred was recalling his work during his atomic physics PhD and explained about the world’s most expensive substance, Antimatter with an estimated cost of $300 billion per milligram. The information about this antimatter sounds like some mythological stories of India, a pen size of this antimatter can make a city like Paris disappear it seems! And also saw some talented road shows like this...

June 08, 2008

Saturday

Saturday… had a stroll the zoo and biking in the beautiful village side of Bremerhaven, thanks to Michael!
www.flickr.com
In the evening just before jumping into my train in Bremen had a stroll in the old city center, Thanks to Johanna!
www.flickr.com

June 06, 2008

Discovery continues …

Yesterday the first day of my workshop and I finished my talk, which I was very nerves about especially in the absence of my boss and in the presence of sharks and whales of my field. Thank diatoms it all went well!The meeting was in this nice old building of the AWI, and we were welcomed by these guys, well! its a polar research institute!

After the meeting, we took a walk in the waterfront.

Of course we are in Germany it was time for a beer and I had a nice German tea! And finally, after witnessing a beautiful, informative day the sun went down very elegantly in the north sea at 10:30

June 04, 2008

Friendly people!

I got lots of warnings from my friends before this trip, In Bremerhaven the weather is always bad, and the town is very boring as it is almost only made of a tiny harbor and this marine research institute. But last few days I am having a nice time, lots of nice discussions with great professors, the real marine biologist who go into sea to collect samples etc. Another remarkable thing (which really makes me feel very jealous ) about this institute is that most of the PhD students live in house with their own garden and have their own separate room at work, and so they have the luxury of getting their dogs to work every day. That is Lucy, dog of Michael. And I told you… people and even animals here are very friendly to their guest! I always share a very good chemisty with dogs!

June 03, 2008

A voyage of discovery!

Yesterday I felt as if I was talking to the one of the most intelligent person I have ever met. Victor Smetacek, a senior oceanographer and listed in the top 1000 faculty of biology (I afraid ranking may be an underestimation of his intelligence)! He invited for dinner yesterday (thanks to a small misunderstanding) ; finally I had a very enlightening evening, we went for a long walk in his huge garden, which totally looked wild but as we walked inside I was able see how he tamed and almost knew every leaf, flower and birds by its name name , he beautifully explained the evolution, struggle for existence, survival of the fittest, biological clock , continental drift, Importance of iron for living things and of course lots on diatoms ! Finally left with so many questions, why do some organisms evolve faster? Why there are so many varieties of cow while less of buffalos, can we save the earth from global warming? Can the diatoms, the phytoplankton save us? After having delicious food for thoughts it was time for dinner, I taught him to make the south Indian Okra curry (Pulikolambu) while he made some dhal and potato bharta. Also had a chance to meet his wife and amazingly strong lady! I hope I can have more interaction with her today!

Check out this small article about him in Nature! And also his wife Karen’s website!

In pic is Victor and Karen in their garden!

June 02, 2008

Rajdhani Express!

Yesterday took the European version of Rajdhani (train which connects the capital in India) express. The most luxurious night train I have ever travelled, a separate cabin, with temperate, light intensity control and wakeup call with music, bed coffee and breakfast and more over a bathroom bigger than in my Paris apartment! All this in the train from Paris to Berlin, fortunately / unfortunately I had to get down half the way in Bremen and come to this little town Bremerhaven with a very famous Institute " Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research” ! I will be here for a week with my work desk facing the water front! So far it is very sunny (which is very rare to see in this place it seems) and warm people!

May 31, 2008

D 'evil' atomist!

I felt like a D’evil’ atomist yesterday! Teased someone so much… In a way it was good to let the devil out and talk about the things which annoys me! Hmm! Now I am trying to put the devil back to sleep! “ Ha! Ha! Ha! I once heard an old French lady shouting ‘Dis Pardon’! Oops! There she is! You can still hear her! oh! boy! I can be so nasty ! Now a days quite often!

May 30, 2008

Back to school!

PhD days, PhD student’s get-together in my university…my university which is miles away from Paris… Spending a day in travelling to and back and listening to day-long lectures of the fellow PhDs! Oops! I am almost brain dead! But the nice part this tiring day is that I got a chance to spend a day in forest! My university is hidden behind these tall trees and greenery, something which we see very little inside Paris! And finally, song of the day in my French class was this one by ‘La compagnie Créole’
a pop group from French speaking Caribbean! Now the question is does this song remind you of any Hindi bollywood song? I am breaking my half dead brain with this question!

May 29, 2008

Sun and Smiles!

Crazy day, I will not go to my work for almost next 10 days, so was running around to finish some last minute stuffs, some boring bureaucracy things etc. etc. moreover got a bad news that I have to pay almost two years arrears in my house rent as my landlord forgot to raise it for last two years, as per the contract it was supposed to be increased every year it seems. So if your house owner forget to increase the rent every year it’s better to remind him otherwise there will be a big looting of our small savings! But end of the exhaustive depressing day I am still in the position to update my blog because two rare things happened...Paris witnessed a beautiful sunny day which added some energy and secondly dinner with three of my favorite friends , a rare combination of crazy friends got together quite accidently. So the evening was filled with laughter and good food! Friends and Food; Sun and Smiles what else should I ask for?