Maybe it's Science!, Uncategorized

Inner Life of a Cell

Finally more Science!

I was not born a biologist. My interest in biology piqued through my time in college when I was lucky enough to be exposed to several phenomena through lectures and videos. Like many of us, I have been doubtful also about what I really want to do in life and what is it that can keep me engrossed (without ennui, of course) for years to come. One of the first times I felt myself staring at the screen in awe was when I watched the video called ‘Inner Life of a Cell’, a Harvard creation! Instead of the more academic approach, the creators of this video made something cinematic in its feel! And it sealed the deal for me. I knew it was biology that I wanted to seriously pursue.

For everyone who wonders what the inside of a cell looks like, this video has to be your one stop solution! Continue reading “Inner Life of a Cell”

Thoughtful...

The Memory Chain

I was going through other’s blogs and smiling about the treasure on wordpress, which I unfortunately didn’t know about till I joined the community! Reading people’s blogs makes me think, smile, envy, cringe and remember! All of this, just through their beautiful words and/or pictures.

This post is inspired by http://greydaysandcoffee.wordpress.com where she’s put up pictures of empty chairs and written about her grandma Margaret, whom she misses too much! Continue reading “The Memory Chain”

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Over Spilt Masala

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Sundays are usually about cleaning the house and washing clothes and cooking food (the last one mostly as a reminder of what food can actually taste like and as a preparation for the upcoming week-long stint of canteen meals)! Vegetable fried rice and sweet and spicy tomato gravy were on the menu for lunch today. Cooking is always a lot of fun when you have friends helping around and/or messing it up! It took us about an hour of singing along with the loud music, teasing and laughing, chopping vegetables, spilling the masala (ground spices) due to oily hands and some actual cooking! The pictures you are looking at are of what we ended up with!!! Have no doubts, it tasted as good as it looked…. You guys have a happy Sunday too! I’m off to do the dishes…

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Lime Zest and a Dash of Honey!

I wake up when it’s still dark and before the alarm goes off. I turn around to look at the time on my not-so-smart-anymore phone. It flashes brightly the time along with tens of messages and emails and comments (on the blog) that were sent to me much after I had danced my way to my beautiful dreams. With one eye open (and the other tightly shut lest I should lose my sleep completely) I read all of them making a mental note to reply to each one when I get a moment during the day. With that done I try to sleep for a few more minutes (always more treasured than the hours of sleep I grab at night) but the alarm finally goes off. I toy around with the idea of sleeping for longer but I can’t! The rest of my schedule will go haywire if I don’t wake up right away… And I can’t afford that!
I stretch my body and look around my tiny room. This is not my ‘home’ but it means that and a lot more to me, now that I’ve spent quite a few years away from the ‘home’! My room is clean…efforts taken the previous night battling with my eyes that were forcing themselves shut. I’m happy. I open the windows wider and look out. The world has awakened… I hear the birds chirping and smile… I take in the crisp freshness in the air. It’s getting brighter. After tidying the bed and getting done with ‘morning business’ I grab my phone (the only source of entertainment I have apart from my laptop which is a pain to switch on – courtesy old model and no battery life!) and get onto the wordpress app. I spend some time reading people’s blogs… There are such wonderful writers out there! I look for new blogs and follow at least one new blog each day, while also inviting them to stop by mine. I can’t compromise with this… I have to spend some time reading and getting inspired by others! I also make notes of what my next post could be about. I look at the top right corner of the phone… The minute changes to the next number. I would love to continue reading but I can’t… I shouldn’t!
I pull out my yoga mat and sit down. I try hard to not think of anything else… Not the blogs, not about what I’m going to write next, not about the experiments that wait for me in the lab, not about things-to-buy! I spend an hour swiftly changing postures. I’ve become better. No more sore muscles or incomplete postures. The ones I practice regularly, I’ve perfected! I smile. I’ve been trying my hand at a few new ones. Not bad. But I need to get better. I spend another half an hour trying to focus my thoughts on all the positive things in my life. Honestly, I’m quite satisfied. I have no clue about the time. I look at the phone again. I’ve spent a little less than two hours doing yoga. I finish with a couple of mantras, fold and put away my yoga mat and walk to the kitchen. I boil some water and make myself some green tea, lime zest with a dash of honey, the packet reads (my new found love). While the kettle does its job, I wash dishes (should’ve done this last night before I went to bed… But I’ve never managed that!). I sit with my tea, looking out the window. It’s bright and full of life! I play some music on the phone at low volume. I hum along. The neighbour’s dog can’t stop barking…the only disturbance in the otherwise perfect morning! I would love for time to stop… I would love to spend the rest of my day doing this… But my phone warns me that it’s time to get ready and go to work. I agree (that takes another 30 minutes)!  Finally I pick up my bag (making a mental note to try and reduce the number of things I carry to work each day) and walk out the door with my mind now focused on the things I need to get done today…I’d like to get done early… Let’s hope I do!!
I greet the people in the lab (I’m one of the earliest to arrive) with a smile… It’s been a wonderful morning… And a long one at that. I could get quite a lot done! My Labmate walks in complaining how sleepy she was as she woke up just half an hour ago!!!!! Sigh…
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Fireworks

Three weeks of ‘Diwali vacation’ was always welcome when I was in school. Of course, there was the typical drill of homework and assignments but who cared! From running down the stairs gaily to see some fireworks just before the Sun bathed the world in its warm pastels to sampling the assortment of  sweets and snacks that mom made…Diwali had a special place in my heart!

And that was about a decade back…maybe more! And as time slipped past me in its taciturn manner, I grew out of all those tiny things that mattered so much to me. No more fireworks, no addiction for sweets, no more looking forward to Diwali and definitely no more Diwali vacation! And the last one is the worst. It’s funny how we all look forward to growing up when we are kids and when we do grow up we yearn to revert back to the simple things that gave us joy.

To all the Diwali vacations spent bursting fire-crackers with dad and the yummy ‘Mysore paks’ (a south Indian delicacy) that my mom makes…to all the effortless moments of joy and the unpretentious spreading of love!

Hope you all have a beautiful day…do spend some time thinking about the beautiful moments that made your life bright as the colours of fireworks…do smile at how much has changed and do embrace all that has led to it!

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Smile in the Same Language!

The janitor who cleans the tissue culture room in the lab walks up to me. He hands me the sheet of paper with a broad smile on his face. Nothing unusual. He does this every day. I take the sheet and put down my signature to confirm that he did his part.

I smile back and say “Thank You!” He returns the gesture and nods back, not understanding what I said but understanding what I meant. Continue reading “Smile in the Same Language!”

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The Midsummer Cambridge Trip!

Well, a dear friend requests me to write about my experience in Cambridge… So here is a small post summarizing my time in the wonderful city!
I was lucky to experience Cambridge summers… A time of the year when every tree puts on its golden yellow hues and shines back at the sun, almost challenging it’s beauty! I landed on a Saturday after almost 15 hours of continuous travel… Yes that’s how long it takes to get there from India! And as tired as I was, I couldn’t help but stare at the lovely thatched roof houses and the narrow streets on the way to my temporary home. Everything was so different from the sights my eyes were used to in India.
My first amazing experience in Cambridge was of the lovely flea market at Trumpington park and my host family, who are now my ‘British parents’, took me there. The books and clothes and shoes and accessories and vegetables and meat… Everything under the sun for such cheap rates… I will always cherish walking around with Tony (dad) looking at the books and helping Dilly (mom) find the perfect things for the grand kids. In fact, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, the book I cherish most was bought on one such visit to the flea market! I remember dad telling me that sometimes you find invaluable treasures there… Indeed!
It took me just over a week to find my comfort zone in a city so far away from home where I knew nobody. And that was mostly because of the people I met there, who went out of their way to make me feel at home…
Although those few months were meant to contribute to my scientific abilities (I went there for an internship), that’s not what I’ll remember the trip for (though obviously I gained a lot on that front too). I met a new person in myself during those months. That new found freedom to explore the world, the small salary to cover my expenses, the wonderful feeling of being a total stranger, the sight of cathedrals and colleges…it set me free…it liberated the timid heart of mine. The independence gave me confidence, strength. Everything seemed to add up to provide me with an experience I won’t ever forget. For the first time in my life, I worried about nothing. All my time went into planning the weekend trips and the weeks were sandwiched between all the fun. Every trip to the bank with that tiny cheque was filled with more hopes and thoughts of a better plan for the next weekend. I put my finger on the map and read about it on the Internet and set out with a tiny lunch pack which mom made for me – a lettuce and cheese sandwich, a tiny bar of chocolate, a pack of crisps, a small cup of yogurt! And that tasted best after loads of walking and exploring…
I clicked several thousand pictures each day as everything looked new and delightful. I fearlessly walked around the city, explored tiny corners, got lost and found my way back… Every day I repeated the exercise…
I spent hours together reading in the lush green park, amazed by the fact that the sun set around 10 at night (that never happens in India)! Something as small as that thrilled me. I spent hours lazing around in sunlight (which only found its way to the ground when the clouds allowed)… I walked into every shop to see what they had to offer… On weeks where I saved more than I expected, I treated myself to a meal at the Rainbow Cafe!!
From my first sight of late -night sunset to my first sip of champagne on the punt, Cambridge offered incredible experiences… I went there with nothing more than dreamy eyes and a timid heart but returned with a million memories and wonderful friends…
Wish you all find that one trip that sets your hearts and your spirits free…

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Alike as Chalk and Cheese

When the aircraft took off and I looked below at the several buildings and offices and houses reduced to but a few dots, I felt strange. Each dot was a house, a home, a school, a hospital, a bank, an office, a church, a something! Millions of people were down there…each of them unique…each of them with a dream of his/her own…each of them looking up at the sky to see another dot whiz past them…a dot that carried within it a few hundred people with their own dreams and aspirations…No matter how our lives converge, we all have distinctive experiences, distinctive schedules and distinctive stories that led up to that point of convergence! And the magnitude of this realization is much bigger than it sounds. This was a while back… Continue reading “Alike as Chalk and Cheese”

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Bollywood Bandwagon!

This afternoon I learnt from a friend that Le Zepp is not the name of a person but a band! Haha…That’s how stupid I am! My only musical influences are Hindustani and Carnatic classical music and the famous Bollywood music!

Most people around the world are reminded of the loud and colourful song and dance sequences when talked to about Bollywood films. And why not! Our films are heavily driven by their music and dance. And beautifully so! Honestly, I don’t think Bollywood music is half as bad. Yes, there are songs I am not too proud of but there are others that I could listen to repeatedly without getting bored.

My current obsession from Bollywood is  ‘Pashmina Dhago ke Sang’ from Fitoor. The song has a heart. And the singer delivers it with an honesty you cannot miss. Maybe because I am a writer, I am biased towards songs with good lyrics. And this one qualifies! I speak several Indian languages and I am glad because I can understand and appreciate the beauty of each of these. certain things expressed in a certain language can never be translated into another while doing complete justice. When I sometimes try and translate the meanings of certain Tamil songs into Hindi for my friends, I feel a part of me cringing due to my inability to substantiate the writer’s thoughts.

Bollywood music has two things that I admire. Amidst several ludicrous fabrications are some real beautiful pieces of work. There are songs that are beautifully written, to say the least about them, and songs that mirror the singer’s emotions. It is indeed amazing how emotions cannot be lied about and how an audio file brings with it an entire array of emotions through the voice of the singer.

Today Bollywood music can make me laugh, cry, mourn, celebrate, regret and look forward to something! There is no mood that Bollywood music cannot or has not captured! Touche…