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 Fran├žais' 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…
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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!
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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!