Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Religiously Yours

After a hard days work there is nothing more enthralling than looking at results in the laboratory. I finally got results after two hard grinding unforgiving months. I was wondering about what I should write on my blog site and a conversation I had with a friend of mine suddenly popped out. The conversation was about spirituality, faith and science. My friend is a devout Christian, the bible is his guide and he leads his life according to the Ten Commandments god handed out to Moses on Mount Sinai more than two thousand years ago.
I am exactly the opposite, though brought up in an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family; I completely hate to be associated with any caste or religion. I remember the days when I was recognized by my caste. These days, I am recognized by the country I am from, another form of discrimination. I have never understood religion or caste or what attracts people towards them. I have always been an ardent science fan, and try hard to find a logical explanation to what nature has bestowed the world with. But, I am not an atheist. I believe in god. I believe that there is a higher energy that pervades the universe that will certainly not fall in confines of a scientific explanation. I do not believe in using religion to separate myself from the rest of human civilization.
It is very perplexing that there are so many religions in the world with such ardent followers for each of them. Which one of these jokers is right? Why should we follow any religion at all? Should our lives be decided by our religious beliefs? Should religion determine an individual’s morality? Should religion determine marriages or sexual union of two human beings?
We live in a scientific age. Our life spans have increased two fold or greater just in the past two hundred years. We are at the peak of scientific achievement. We have left our barbaric past behind us and are moving together as a species towards a more peaceful world (at least the majority of us are I hope!). In this day and age what is most important is not caste or religion. What is important is compassion for the fellow human beings. I remember a song by Phil Collins that moves me every time I hear it… “She calls out to the man on the street, sir can you help me?” I might sound like a communist from my attack on religions and my call for compassion to fellow human beings. If it sounds communist, then I would say that communism is the best thing that happened to man.
Human beings are a supposedly social species. If we truly are, there cannot be a place for such things like religion in our society. What we need to do is fight to eradicate hunger, poverty, educate people, and create a healthy environment for fellow human beings.
Humans gather together a thousand times a year in the name of religion or politics. How many times do we come together as a species to discuss reforms or to set things right?
I can sleep now that I have passed on the burden …

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bloggers to meet in Washington DC!!

Arvind my blogger friend has announced the first bloggers meet in Washington DC on the 9th of July, 2005 A.D. Since, Arvind has so graciously announced it I believe that he is going to graciously host this one and make life for graduate students like me easier. I invite all the budding aspiring bloggers and the current bloggers to join in the fun. I would like to point out a few good bloggers from DC (I think that most of the good bloggers are from DC :P) Daedalus, Ganesh, Senthil and Arvind (ofcourse if I dont he will kick me I am sure) ...the list is endless. I would also like to mention that the big spending will be done by the established bloggers while the young bloggers like me will sit back relax and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


After having a sumptuous dinner of pasta and vegetables I visit my friend Ganesh’s English blog and what do I see? I have been tagged, except that this time it is not a book tag...
I take a few deep breaths and let the steam out through my ears and decide that it was time to tell the world about myself…
So here goes,

Three names I go by:
Robbie… and oh my god!! I forgot the other two.

Three screen names:
Brad Pitt, Sean Connery and Robert De Nero are the three screen names I go by

Three Physical Things You like about Yourself:
There are too many things I like about myself physically, mmm…
let me see…
My adorable belly button,
My super dimpled cheeks and
The super soft mega sized tummy of mine and of course
Robbie Junior!! I simply adore him (This is censored for kids under 18 years of age)

Three Physical Things You Don’t Like About Yourself:
UH!! Um!! How dare you ask me this question!! I like everything and anything about myself ,coz if I don’t its an insult to my DNA.

Three things that scare me:
Tags like these that make me reveal my inner most self
People who come up with ideas for tags like these and
People who eat beautiful saint Bernards for dinner!!

Three things I want to do badly now:
Write a letter to blogspot to ban such tags
Tag three more people and make their life miserable and
Take a leak desperately, will do so after I finish this line…

Whew!! I am back… that was so relaxing oops theres more here

Three things I want to do before I die:
Make India a superpower
Design a fart bomb using laloo’s gober gas

Total films I own on DVD:
Are you kidding me!! You actually buy a DVD in this day and age? LOL!!!

Three things you are wearing right now:
My shirt, my shorts and ofcourse my underwear!!!

Three people who have to take this quiz:
Manmohan Singh
Sonia Gandhi and
George Bush

And I would like someone to go tell them quick, please!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I just managed to finish reading the one Dan Brown book that I hadn't read. After having read the other three books (Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and Digital fortress) I plunged into deception point with a lot of expectations and felt decieved and disappointed at the end.
It was because I felt that Dan Brown was getting predictable, I could clearly see the pattern of the plot emerging.
The plot in all of Dan Brown’s books is strikingly similar; the central theme of each book though, is different.
The formula for a Dan Brown book
1.A few controversial issues
Deception point: panspermia, NRO, NASA and the white house
Digital fortress: NSA, and internet privacy
Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code: Anti matter, Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, and the Vatican
2.Attractive and skilled hero and heroine :
Deception point:
Mike Tolland (oceanographer) and Rachel Sexton(Intelligence analyst)
Digital fortress: David Becker (modern language expert) and Susan Fletcher(Mathematician and cryptographer)
Angels and Demons:
Robert Langdon (Harvard professor and symbologist) and Vittoria Vetra(anti matter scientist)Da Vinci Code:
Robert Langdon and Sophia Neveu (cryptologist)
3. Assassins
4. An important person (head of an organization) usually is the villain

5. All evidence initially always point to innocent people
6. The wrong doings of the villains are always “TOP SECRET” and are not revealed to the general public
This is the general formula for all Dan Brown books. I do agree that his books are riveting and he does have the gift of keeping the reader’s undivided attention. In fact I became a big fan of Dan Brown after I read Angels and Demons. His books do carry a lot of information (sometimes false) and deal with a variety of issues, but the plots are all the same. I think it finally would boil down to individual preference. I still would prefer Dan Brown to some other ordinary author, but I felt it necessary to critique him this way.
Please let me know about your thoughts and comments. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I surprised myself with this one. I thank Kaleidoscope and randomshots for inspiring me to photoblog Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005


I was walking from the metro back home and I was wondering about the number of responsibilities that have built up on me as the years have passed by. I suddenly felt suffocated. There were too many things to worry about. In India, we as children enjoy enormous freedom. I remember that most of my childhood was spent reading fun books or playing with my friends. Yes, the family did want me to do some fun chores, like going to the milk booth early in the morning waiting in that long line and getting the milk back home without spilling a drop. In addition to the milk chores, there would be some veggie shopping or mopping occasionally (my aunt would not let me mop coz she was never confident that I would get anything as squeaky clean as she did, but nevertheless she would want me to do some mopping sometimes). Other than these minor chores all I had to do was play and of course study to keep up with school. I was involved in a number of extra-curricular activities at school. I never really ventured into sports because I knew that the only real sport I knew was to sleep with my eyes closed for 18 hours at a stretch. I loved writing short plays and acting in them. My only responsibility really was to study and get good scores to get me into the science group in high school. I did that with relative ease, even though I did not score very high in my matriculation exams. By the time I was in high school I was knee deep and sinking into all kinds of the so called "extra-curricular" activities, shoemaker-levy 9 crashed into Jupiter and the stellar constellations of my ruling planet (Saturn) apparently got severely affected because of that. I ground through high school somehow.
I hated the humongous amounts of memorization that we did just to scrape through our high schools. I somehow managed to get a decent score in my high school. I found out though that I would not qualify to study either medicine or engineering with the scores I had. I was not in the least bothered by this, we were a class of 56 students who graduated out of high school and I was the only one who went on to do my bachelors degree in Microbiology. I thoroughly enjoyed the subject of my choice. It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. After my bachelor’s degree, I did what everyone did, got a masters degree. After my masters degree everyone in my family was pushing me into taking the GRE and trying to get into a university in the United States. I had settled down into a nice job with a pharmaceutical company and was enjoying traveling the streets of Chennai marketing their stuff. I took the GRE with a lot of skepticism. I hadn’t prepared for it at all. I somehow managed to land a decent score to get me into one of the American Universities. Everyone who met me started to talk about how great it was going to be for me in the United States and about the future that lay in front of me. I landed in the United States on December 31 2001. I had been spot checked in every single airport (My Hindu name apparently doesn’t help). My uncle picked me up at the airport and took me to his house. It had been quite a while since I had met my uncle. I noticed that he had changed completely. I didn’t feel anything Indian about him. His house wasn’t an Indian household anymore. It was like I had walked into some alien house. I did not feel comfortable there at all. My uncle then brought me here to DC and left me with a Slovakian roommate. It has been three and a half years now since I first stepped foot into this country. I enjoy my research and I am very productive. I am still a year and a half away from my final goal, but yet, there is something lacking here. I feel it very strongly each day and it grows on me. I miss the crowd, the stench, the sweat, the thirst, the hunger and the passion which is so typically Indian. I miss the dirty streets and the carefree spirits roaming them. I miss the overcrowded buses and the daredevil stunts, hanging on the steps. I miss the stress free life I had. I miss my grandmothers cooking and the umpteen number of souls that have touched my life… I miss my country.
I wish someone could set me free!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Book Tag

I have been tagged by Daedalus and it is my turn to share information with the blog world. Before I do so I would strongly recommend anyone reading this blog to visit her blog site. Her site is an information highway and a great way to keep in touch with current US policies and politics.
Books I own: In India: I have not counted
In the US: 10+ (I have become a very poor reader of late)
Last book I bought: Deception point by Dan Brown, have not finished reading it as yet.
Five books that mean a lot to me: It is very difficult for me to just think of 5 books but I will try my best to mix nonfiction and fiction.

THE BLIND WATCH MAKER by Richard Dawkins:
It is a book that argues for Darwin’s theory of Evolution and strongly argues against intelligent design. I wonder if there would be any more believers of the intelligent design theory if people read and understood this book. This book was recommended to me by my mentor during my master’s degree in Microbiology. It helped me get a new perspective on evolution.

MY LIFE by Bill Clinton:
It is one autobiography that I enjoyed reading. Clinton is an awesome writer and so is his wife a must read for all commoners like me.

The Foundation Series and Robot series by Isaac Asimov:
A must read for any science fiction fan. These books are incomparable to any other science fiction books for their content (I have already introduced Asimov in my inaugural blog).

This book just took me by surprise an amazingly well written book, a leisurely read.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens:
There is something eerily romantic about this classic. I have read most of the classics but none of them have made me reread them as much as this one. A classic for all times and ages.

I tag: Ganesh, Srikanth, Senthil, Chinmayi, Desikan, Praveen, Arvind and Prabz
p.s. I also tag ceremonial soup, I just got a chance to read his blog and its very interesting.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I was browsing the net today and chanced upon this website with the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. I remember my first encounter with one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. I was 10 years old then, sitting and watching the telly with my grandfather. My aunt came up to me and handed me a book bound wonderfully well and it read “THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES”. I used to be busy with my Enid Blyton books and Mark Twains classics like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I looked at my aunt with a little bit of distrust and wondered out loud if this book she gave me was ever going to match Mark Twains books. I went up to my room closed the doors like I usually did and lay on my bed and started reading the book. After the first few pages I came to know that Sherlock Holmes was a chemist and that he was a man of limited all round abilities and that he was also a drug addict of sorts and to top it all a detective. I read on and discovered that Holmes also believed that the brain was like an empty attic and that was the reason why he did not believe in stacking up his attic with things that did not concern his profession, I was very impressed indeed. I read more and more and could not take my eyes off the book. A knock on the door brought me to my senses. It was morning and I had been reading the book all night. The detective had possessed my senses with his brilliance and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became my favorite author for quite sometime after that.

Here is the link to the site I was talking about

I hope you all enjoy reading the best detective stories ever written…

Posted by Hello

Friday, June 03, 2005



I look into the mirror and reflect on how 27 years of my life have passed by me. I have come a long way since I was in my mother’s womb, unaware of the life that awaited me. I am now so far away from the beginning; still unaware of what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is so full of uncertainties. I am always so sure about what my plans for tomorrow are going to be, but am I sure about if there would be a tomorrow? What if everything froze in time? Everything I loved and I knew was forever erased from my mind. What would happen? This is what THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND TRIES TO ANALYZE. What would happen if you were to wake up one day and find out that the person you loved has erased all her memories about you? In the movie the memories were erased using a machine. In real life some people choose to forget, they claim they love you one day and forget you the next. I have always wondered if some of us need such gadgets to erase our memories. Most of us tend to temporarily forget the nasty incidences that occur in our lives, we only remember them when we encounter them in some way or the other. What would life be without bad memories? Bad memories are unavoidable in our short life. If given a choice, what memories of mine would I erase? Probably none! All my memories are linked to different incidents, whether they are good or bad I would not want to erase my memories. This is the subtle message in THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.

The central theme of this movie is “LOVE”. The importance that human beings give to this word is paramount. It is impossible to think of anyone on earth who hasn’t fallen in love with someone.

What is LOVE? I searched for the dictionary meaning of love on the net and this is what I got…


  1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
  2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
    1. Sexual passion.
    2. Sexual intercourse.
    3. A love affair.
  3. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
  4. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
  5. An expression of one's affection: Send him my love.
    1. A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
    2. The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.
  6. Love Mythology. Eros or Cupid.
  7. often Love Christianity. Charity.
  8. Sports. A zero score in tennis.

Does this definition satisfy any of you reading this? It certainly does not satisfy me, this definition certainly is not adequate. Love is a very ill defined feeling in all of us. It is a very selfish as well as an altruistic emotion. Yes, love is a big paradox. We cannot just call love a sexual feeling, for it is not. It is more than all that, it transcends everything. It is a very intense emotion; it digs deep into us like an abyss. Love can make or break things for an individual. It has the ability to motivate people to wage wars. Love can be a weapon of mass destruction or a solid foundation to another world trade centre.

Why am I rambling on and on about love? It is because science fiction writers have always tried to analyze human behavior and especially our emotions. There are many episodes of Star trek that have focused only on this aspect of emotional intelligence. Emotions are a human beings strength as well as weakness. So what has love got to do with memory? We as humans remember the things we love the longest. The people we love live in our memories the longest and so do the objects that we associate them with. It can be a simple watch that they used to wear or a ring, a pendent anything and everything. Isn’t our brain amazing? It recognizes and interprets our love and keeps it longer for us to recall every single detail.

I think its time for me to go to bed and to the world of my dreams…

Posted by Hello