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 -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 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


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!